Skip to main content

Full text of "The Quakers in peace and war, an account of their principles and practice;"

See other formats



(Earlier Periods). 

By Elizabeth Braithwaite Emmott 
Introduction by Rufus M. Jones, M.A., D.Litt. 
Illustrated, ios. 6d. net. 

A Popular History 

By Elizabeth B. Emmott. 

Illustrated. Cloth, 6s. net ; limp cloth, 38. net. 


By Edward Grubb, M.A. 

Cloth, 3s. 6d. net 5 limp cloth, 2s. net. 


A Religion of Life 

By Rufus M. Jones, M.A., D.Litt. 
Cloth, 2s. 6d. net. 

Its Faith and Practice 

By John S. Rowntree. 
is. 6d. net. 






former Scholar of Newnham College^ Cambridge 
Lecturer in the University of 'Birmingham 

RUFUS M. JONES, M.A., D. Litt. 

Author of " The Inner Life" 
" Later Periods of Quakerism" etc. 

Are you faithful in maintaining our Christian 
testimony against all war as inconsistent with the 
precepts and spirit of the Gospel ? 

.(Official Query of the Society of Friends 
periodically read in its Meetings.) 

I told them I lived in the virtue of that life 
and power, that took away the occasion of all *\ '' 
wars (George Fox, 1650). f\ *\ 




First published in IQ23 

(All rights reserved) 

Printed in Great Britain by 



This historical study of the Society of Friends in its relation 
to the peace question was written in part before the War, and 
neither its plan nor its argument have been influenced by that 
catastrophe, though its completion and appearance have been 
delayed. In the chapters dealing with America I have had to 
rely mainly upon printed sources, in spite of kind help and advice 
from Friends across the Atlantic. But I trust that the account 
is accurate as far as it goes. Elsewhere, as will be seen, I have 
drawn largely from central and local Quaker records, many of 
which are preserved at the headquarters of the Society of Friends, 
Devonshire House, Bishopsgate, E.C., while others are still in the 
possession of the local Meetings. The difficulty has been in selecting 
from materials so abundant. In most of my citations the spelling; 
and punctuation are modernized. 

My aim throughout has been to show the practice of Friends 
in maintaining their peace testimony, rather than to analyse or 
defend its basis. I have tried to give a fair picture of all incon- 
sistencies and divergences, and to show the varying emphasis laid 
on different aspects of the question at different times and under 
different conditions. Inaccuracies, I fear, there must be in a book 
ranging over three centuries and two continents, but I trust there 
are no wilful errors or suppressions. As a member of the Society 
I fully share its views upon war and the spirit of war, but I have 
tried to avoid overmuch comment, and to let Friends speak for 
themselves in their words and works of past and present days. I 
wished to state the facts, leaving readers to form their own opinion 
upon them. I am greatly indebted to Dr. Rufus M. Jones for 
his Introduction and to many Friends and others who have 


generously helped me by information and critical reading of my 
manuscript. Without the stores of the Friends' Reference Library, 
and the unfailing and cheerful help of the late Librarian, Norman 
Penney, his successor, M. Ethel Crawshaw, and the Staff, this book 
could never have been written. It is not an official publication 
of the Society, and for its contents I alone am responsible. 

M. E. H. 


" In D." denotes that the manuscript or book is in the Friends' Reference 
Library, Devonshire House, Bishopsgate, London. 

Camb. Journal = the edition of George Fox's Journal, transcribed from 
the original manuscript, edited by Norman Penney, and published by 
the Cambridge University Press, 191 1. 

J.F.H.S. = Journal of the Friends' Historical Society. 


Here is an important piece of historical work worth doing and worthily 
done. The reader who has known little about the subject before 
will find the book packed with interesting details and narratives, 
and the reader who has been long en rapport with the main facts 
will find this account fresh and significant. 

We are not asked here to read another Utopia, or a new rainbow 
dream of the year 2023. It is the actual history of doings and events 
and practised faiths that are on record. It is, in fact, a book about an 
experiment, good enough in intention to be called holy, and effective 
enough, at least within the domain of those who tried it, to be called 
practical. Some who would not grant this last claim would, perhaps, 
now after the unveilings of the years close behind us, at least thank 
God that a little band of men and women, whether successful or not 
in the venture, were ready to go out, like St. Francis and his Little 
Brothers, to try the way of love and peace in a world where hate and 
war have already had more than a fair chance. 

One excellent feature of this book is the absence from it of all 
special pleading for an abstract theory. There is no attempt to 
prove that swords can with perfect safety be beaten into productive 
ploughshares and spears into reaping sickles. It is not a treatise on 
the elimination of physical force from human society. It is rather 
the story of a definite adventure, on the part of a group of Christian 
believers, to take their faith very seriously and to put their religion 
their loyalty to Christ into actual practice as a way of life. Instead 
of debating in words what the whole world ought to do with its 
complicated problems, the persons here dealt with have burned their 
bridges and cut the bands of social entanglement, and have set 
themselves to exhibit in deeds, even if in small compass, a programme 
of life which they believed would build a new world, if all men 
followed it, as they have tried to do. 

Many persons it has now grown to be a multitude accept this 

same way of life, this same pacific attitude in the periods between 

wars. They abhor the methods of war and the effects of it, but 



too often in the past such persons have found themselves swept into 
the war-mind, the war-passion, when their nation entered upon a 
concrete war. The particular war on hand has seemed to them an 
exception to the general principle. They are caught by the moral 
slogans, the idealisms of the hour, and they are carried on either into 
sympathy with it or participation in it. One of the contributions 
of the Friends, as these pages will show, has been their persistent 
maintenance of their convictions, their consistent practice of their 
vision and insight, even in the hard conflict of loyalties. They 
have formed a Peace Society which has never adjourned and never 
postponed to a more convenient season its labours for peace. 

The most important thing about the experiment is not its 
magnitude, not its reverberations across the world, but its spirit, 
its exhibition of a new kind of force, the demonstration and power 
of the way of love and fellowship. We have grown used, almost 
callous, to compromise in the sphere of religion. We have seen the 
Evangel of a kingdom of God fitted into the political schemes of 
great empires and clipped down to meet the demands of a life and 
civilization still deeply paganized. We have heard it said again and 
again that Christianity has not so much failed as that it has not yet 
been tried. It is, therefore, a relief to discover a remnant of those 
that call Christ their divine Leader who actually set about doing, 
in uncompromising fashion, what He said His followers should do ; 
who will not hate, who will not kill, who will not join in the work 
of starving little children to death, but who insist, at whatever risk 
or sacrifice, upon going on with their programme of love and co- 
operation, their practice of the kingdom of God, even in the midst 
of hate and havoc. 

This story, which covers two hundred and seventy-five years, has 
its failures and its trivialities, its blunders and its humorous aspects. 
Those who have shared in the experiment have no illusions about the 
difficulties or the blemishes. They are extremely humble over the 
role they have played and the thing they have accomplished. Their 
one concern has been and is to keep the faith and to follow the gleam, 

" 'Tis not the grapes of Canaan that repay, 
But the high faith that fails not by the way." 

Rufus M. Jones. 



Prefatory Note 7 

Introduction 9 



I. The Christian Churches and Peace . . . . 15 



II. The Early Testimony, 1643-60 39 

III. Years of Persecution, 1 660-1 702 69 



IV. Early Apologists for Peace, 1653-64 . . . .113 
V. Robert Barclay the Apologist 134 

VI. William Penn and John Bellers 153 



VII. Days of Tradition, 1702-55 177 

VIII. In Time of War England and Ireland 1755-1815 194 
IX. Some Disownments, 17741815 225 






X. Peace and War, 1815-99 243 

XI. John Bright 273 



XII. The West Indies 307 

XIII. The American Colonies 327 

XIV. Pennsylvania 353 

XV. The War of Independence 383 

XVI. The United States 4*6 

XVII. Friends in Europe 452 


XVIII. The Twentieth Century 481 


A. List of Soldiers and Sailors who became Friends 

BEFORE THE Year l66o 527 

B. The Testimony of the Soldiers, 1657 . . . 530 

C. George Fox to Oliver Cromwell, 1654 . . . 532 

D. Address to the Emperor of Russia, 1854 . . . 534 

E. The Protest of the German Friends against Slavery, 

Philadelphia, 1688 536 

F. Statistics of Enlistment, 1917 538 

Index 539 


Full long our feet the flowery ways 

Of peace have trod, 

Content with creed and garb and phrase : 

A harder path in earlier days 

Led up to God. 

Too cheaply truths, once purchased dear, 

Are made our own ; 

Too long the world has smiled to hear 

Our boast of full corn in the ear, 

By others sown ; 

To see us stir the martyr fires 

Of long ago, 

And wrap our satisfied desires 

In the singed mantle that our sires 

Have dropped below. 

But now the cross our worthies bore 

On us is laid. 

Profession's quiet sleep is o'er, 

And in the scale of truth once more 

Our faith is weighed. 

The levelled gun, the battle-brand 
We may not take : 
But calmly loyal we can stand 
And suffer with our suffering land 
For conscience' sake. 

Stanzas from Anniversary Poem, 1863, by J. G. Whittier. 





Even those whose acquaintance with the Society of Friends, or 
Quakers, is of the slightest have a general idea that among its 
doctrines is a belief in the un-Christian nature of war, of which 
the refusal to take part in war or military training is the corollary. 
An odd illustration of this opinion is the application by soldiers of 
the term " Quaker " to a dummy gun, used to draw the enemy's 
fire, which of course it cannot return. The grounds of this prin- 
ciple among Friends, and their practice of it during nearly three 
centuries will be set forth in the later chapters of this book. But 
it is less generally known that the same belief was widely held 
among early Christians, that it was a tenet of some mediaeval and 
Reformation sects, and is even now maintained by some other 
Churches, of which the Mennonite body in Russia, Germany, and 
America is the chief in point of numbers. The following pages 
give a brief account of the peace views of these non-Quaker 
bodies views which were often one cause of the persecutions 
they endured. 

In the Christian Church of the first three centuries there 
existed a strong body of opinion which, basing itself upon the words 
of Christ and the spirit of His teaching, held that warfare and 
bloodshed were impossible for His followers. Professor Harnack, 
in his short study Militia Christi, after making a careful examination 
of the evidence, came to the conclusion that, at any rate until the 
time of Marcus Aurelius, the soldier's life was held to be in such 
obvious conflict with that of the Christian that no Christian entered, 
and all converted soldiers left, the Army. 1 Justin Martyr, the 

1 Harnack says : " Es entstand auch keine ' Soldatenfrage ' : der getaufte 
Christ wurde eben nicht Soldat " (Militia Christi, p. 49). Neander (Church History, 
i. 125) argued that " only a minor party among the Christians " objected to the 
occupation of a soldier. Rigaltius (Nicholas Rigault) and Beatus Rhenanus, 



Apologist, writing in the reign of Antoninus Pius, testifies to the 
peaceful character of the Christian religion (First Apology^ 39 ; 
Trypho, no). He died about a.d. 165, but some later editor 
appended to his Apology an alleged letter from the Emperor Marcus 
Aurelius to the Senate, in a.d. 174, ordering a general toleration 
of Christianity, on the ground that when hard pressed by thirst 
and the enemy his army in Germany was saved by the prayers of a 
large body of Christians in the Twelfth Legion. Their supplica- 
tions were followed by a storm which quenched the thirst of the 
Romans and terrified the enemy into flight. Hence the Legion 
became known as the " Thundering." Tertullian twice alludes 
to the story, but though the deliverance is recorded by historians, 
the Christian element in it is probably false and the letter an 
invention. The Twelfth Legion had been named the Fulminata 
(Thunderstruck) for generations, and Marcus Aurelius permitted 
a severe persecution in the South of France in a.d. 177. The 
letter contains one curious sentence about the Christian soldiers. 
" They began the battle [i.e. prayer] not by preparing weapons 
nor arms nor bugles, for such preparation is hateful to them, on 
account of the God they bear about in their conscience." l 

But during the next century and a half, as Christianity spread 
and the early hope of the immediate second coming of Christ faded, 
the Christians began to make that compromise with the world 
which was fully carried out by Constantine. The writings of the 
Fathers and the legends of the Church give abundant testimony 
that the Christian soldier was no longer an anomaly, and by the 
year 323 the new faith must have been widespread in the ranks, 
for how else could Constantine, owing his power to the army, 
have ventured on the adoption of Christianity as the official religion 
of the Empire ? 

Even in this later period., however, there were great leaders 
of the Church, for example, Tertullian (born circa 160) and 

a Humanist friend of Erasmus, both accept Tertullian as a complete opponent of 
war. " Christianis omnibus ubique militiam interdicit Auctor," says the former in 
his edition of Tertullian (1634), and the latter : " Haud dubie nunquam credidit 
futurum Tertullianus ut Christiani mutuis armis concurrerent." A recent study 
of the question is The Early Christian Attitude to War, by Dr. C. J. Cadoux, 19 19 
(The Swarthmore Press, Ltd.). 

1 Dr. Cadoux {op. cit., pp. 230 foil.), however, considers that " there can be no 
doubt of the main fact, that in or about a.d. 174 the Legio Fulminata contained 
a considerable number of Christian soldiers." The miraculous rainfall is represented 
among the scenes on the Column of Marcus Aurelius at Rome. 


Lactantius (born circa 270), who maintained the old testimony 
against the soldier's profession. There were also many occasions 
on which the devout Christian soldier found himself in opposition 
to the State and his commanders. Under the Pax Romana it was 
not so much the question of war and battle, as that of his ordinary 
military duties in time of peace, which roused the Christian's 
conscience. The military garrison in the provinces was the engine 
of criminal law ; it was the duty of officers to pronounce and 
soldiers to execute death sentences, and the early Church, as a whole, 
included capital punishment among the forms of blood-shedding 
forbidden by the Gospel. How, again, could a Christian reconcile 
the sacr amentum^ or military oath of unconditional submission to 
his Emperor, with the other vow of obedience to his God ? Lastly, 
the official sacrifices which all soldiers were bound to attend, the 
worship of past Emperors and of the genius of the living ruler, the 
reverence paid to the standards, and the constant practice of pagan 
rites and superstitions, must all have placed a conscientious believer 
in a delicate and difficult position. Some attempted to compromise, 
and, while attending pagan ceremonies, protected themselves from 
their evil influence by making the sign of the Cross. Others took 
some convenient opportunity of leaving the army. Others simply 
absented themselves from sacrifice. The result of this last step 
evidently depended largely on the attitude of the ruling Emperor, 
and perhaps still more on the temper of the commanding officers. 
In times of persecution such " nonconformists " were the first to 
suffer ; in times of peace, even, there are occasional records of 
martyrdom ; but in many cases the practice must have been 
tolerated. 1 It must be remembered that conscription, though 
nominally in force, was little employed, since the army, compara- 
tively small in proportion to the great masses of population within 
the Empire, found ready recruits among the warlike peoples of the 
recently conquered northern provinces. In the more settled regions 
exemption could be purchased with little difficulty. The clearest 
instance recorded in the martyrology of an objection on Christian 
grounds to actual warfare occurs in the legend of St. Martin of 
Tours (born circa a.d. 316). Himself a Christian, he was forced 
into the army by heathen parents, and later his legion was among 
those stationed on the Rhine to resist the inroads of the barbarians. 

1 See various instances in Eusebius, Church History, vi. 5, 41 ; vii. 15 ; viii. 4. 
Lactantius (?), De mortibus fersec, 10. Tertullian, De Corona, 1. 



One day, when a donative, or money gift, was being distributed 
among the soldiers to hearten them for the coming battle, Martin 
asked for his discharge. " I am the soldier of Christ, it is not lawful 
for me to fight." The general taunted him with cowardice, where- 
upon he offered to stand unarmed next day in the thickest of the 
battle, to prove his faith in the divine protection. He would have 
been taken at his word had not the enemy sued for peace, and 
shortly afterwards he was allowed to leave the army. The story of 
a young African conscript, martyred under Diocletian in a.d. 295, 
presents some features of peculiar interest. Brought before the 
proconsul at Teveste (Tebers, in Algeria), Maximilian, a youth 
of twenty-one, withstood persuasion, arguments, and threats with 
his one simple answer, " I am a Christian, I cannot serve," and at 
last suffered death " with a cheerful countenance." J 

It is remarkable that even in the third century and the early 
part of the fourth century the Christian apologists, while admitting 
that their brethren were serving in the army, still laid down in 
emphatic terms the incompatibility of war and military service with 
Christianity. Tertullian, before and after joining the sect of the 
Montanists (which stood for strict adherence to New Testament 
teaching), discusses the question at length. 

" For what wars should we not be fit, we who so willingly 
yield ourselves to the sword, if in our religion it were not counted 
better to be slain than to slay ?" 2 In the preceding sentence he 
stated that Christians had filled " the very camp." Again : " How 
shall a Christian be a fighter, nay, how shall he even serve as a 
soldier in time of peace, without a sword ? " 3 In De Corona, a 
work of his Montanist period devoted entirely to the dilemma of 
the Christian soldier, he recounts every moral and religious objection 
to adopting the profession, but adds that if one who is already a 
soldier is converted, his case is different and he may be compared 
to the soldiers of the New Testament. " Yet, at the same time, 
when a man has become a believer and faith has been sealed, there 

1 Dion the proconsul said : " In the august retinue of our lords Diocletian 
and Maximian, Constantius and (Galerius) Maximus, there are Christians who 
are soldiers, and serve as soldiers." Maximilian answered : " They know what 
is best for themselves ; but I am a Christian, and I cannot do evil things." Dion 
said : " Those who serve as soldiers, what evil things do they ? " Maximilian 
answered : " You surely know what they do " (translated from Acta Maxi- 
miliani. Ruinart, Acta Martyrum, pp. 340 foil.). 

* Apologeticus, 37 3 De Idolatria, 19. 


must be either an immediate abandonment of it, which has been 
the case with many ; or all sorts of quibbling will have to be resorted 
to in order to avoid offending God, and that is not allowed even 
outside of military service j or, last of all, for God, the fate must 
be endured which a citizen-faith has been no less ready to accept." l 
About a.d. 178 Celsus, in his controversy with the Christians, 
urged them " to help the Emperor ... to fight for him ; and 
if he requires it, to fight under him or lead an army along with 
him." This appeal, if words mean anything, must mean that 
Christians were currently believed to have a scruple against military 
service. Seventy years later Origen's reply admits the fact, 2 but 
argues that since priests are exempted from warfare in order to 
offer sacrifice with pure hands, Christians have an equal right to 
exemption, since they all as priests of the One true God offer 
prayers on behalf of those " fighting in a righteous cause." " And 
as we by our prayers vanquish all demons who stir up war, and lead 
to the violation of oaths, and disturb the peace, we in this way are 
much more helpful to the Emperor than those who go into the 
field to fight for him. . . . And none fight better for the Emperor 
than we do. We do not indeed fight under him, even at his 
command (o?5 avarparevo^ieda fxev aura), kclv ZTreLyr) . . . ). But 
we fight for him in our own army, an army of piety, by our sup- 
plications to God." 3 Some of these later Fathers are as emphatic 
in their condemnation of war as their predecessors. Origen's 
concession of " a righteous cause " was not admitted by his con- 
tempory Cyprian, who described war as " wholesale murder." 4 
Lactantius, half a century later, has an eloquent passage condemning 
the Roman deification of great conquerors and slayers of men. 5 
More than once he asserts the superiority of spiritual over physical 
force. " If you meet injustice with patience ... it will imme- 
diately be extinguished, as though you would pour water upon a 
fire. But if injustice has met with impatience equal to itself, as 
though overspread with oil, it will excite so great a conflagration, 

1 Tertullian, De Corona, n. The Rev. J. Bethune-Baker, in his short study, 
The Influence of Christianity on War (1888), considers that Tertullian's objection 
to soldiering rested entirely on the pagan associations and practices of the army. 
But the objection to actual warfare is plainly expressed in De Corona. 

1 In his Horn, in Jesu Nave, 15, he says (on Ephes. vi. 11-17) the apostle knew 
" nulla nobis jam ultra bella esse carnaliter peragenda." 

3 Origen, Contra Celsum, viii. 73. 

4 Cyprian, Epistle to Donatus. 

5 Lact., Divine Institutes, i. 18. 


that no stream can extinguish it but only the shedding of blood." 1 
War, he says elsewhere, though esteemed lawful by the State, is 
forbidden to the Christian. 3 

But with the accession of Constantine and the official recog- 
nition of Christianity (" that fatal encircling of the cross with the 
laurel," as it has been called by a Quaker historian 3) the leaders of 
the Church modified their opinion. Augustine, a hundred years 
later, goes far enough to satisfy the most aggressive War Lord. "The 
Emperor Julian was an unbeliever, an apostate, an idolater ; yet 
Christian soldiers served under him. When indeed a question 
arose as to their obedience to Christ, they acknowledged only Him 
who is in heaven. Whensoever the Emperor ordered them to 
worship idols, or to offer incense, they preferred God to him. But 
when he said, ' Draw out the line of battle, march against this or 
that nation,' forthwith they obeyed their King." 4 " Be, even 
while warring, a peace-maker," he wrote in another passage. 5 In 
his great treatise, The City of God, Augustine included only wars waged 
" by the command of God " among the forms of manslaughter not 
forbidden by the Sixth Commandment, on which Vives, the Spanish 
humanist, commented in his edition of the treatise, that certainly 
God never commanded the Christians of sixteenth-century Europe 
to engage in their war of mutual destruction. 6 

From this date the official Church raised no protest against 
Christian participation in war. Athanasius indeed might assert 
that barbarian tribes when converted turned from war to agriculture 
and " instead of arming their hands with the sword lift them in 
prayer," but his hopes were soon belied by the fanatical wars against 
infidels and heretics waged by these converts. 7 Soon ecclesiastical 
and civil legislation was needed to restrain priests and bishops from 
themselves taking part in the slaughter. Neander gives a naive 

1 Lact., Divine Institutes, vi. 18, also v. 17, 18. 
s Ibid., vi. 20. 

3 Backhouse and Tyler, Early Church History, p. 317. The allusion is both 
to the legendary vision of Constantine and to his actual adoption of the labarum 
or Christian emblem as the standard of Rome. Cp. Gibbon, Decline and Fall, 
c. 20. Harnack says of the Vision, " Der Christengott hatte sich als Krieg- und 
Siegesgott offenbart " (Militia Christi, p. 87). 

4 Augustine on Psalm cxxiv. 
s Augustine, Epistle 189. 

6 De Civitate Dei, i. 20. 

J Athanasius, De Incarn. Verbi, 51, 2. The Council of Aries, A.D. 314, 
in its Third Canon specifically censured deserters from the Army. 


account of the conditions which led to the famous capitulary of 
Charles the Great. 1 

" It being found," he says, " that a very bad impression was 
made on the minds of the multitude, when clergymen fell wounded 
or dead in battle, the Emperor Charles was entreated to make a 
provision against the occurrence of such things in future." The result 
was the Capitulary of a.d. 8oi, to the following effect : 

" That no priest should thereafter engage in battle ; but that 
two or three chosen bishops should attend the army, with a certain 
number of priests, who should preach, give the blessing, perform 
mass, receive confession, attend the sick, administer extreme unction, 
and take especial care that no man left the world without the 
communion. What victory could be hoped for, when the priests, 
at one hour, were giving the body of the Lord to Christians, and 
at another were, with their own wicked hands, slaying those very 
Christians to whom they gave it, or the heathen to whom they 
ought to have been preaching Christ ? " 3 

This ordinance did not restrain Popes and bishops of the Middle 
Ages from waging wars like any temporal ruler, but it did emphasize 
afresh the distinction between clergy and laity which had already 
been established by the doctrine of a celibate priesthood. The 
clear statement that it is sinful for Christian priests, but lawful for 
Christian laymen to slay their fellow- Christians marks the distance 
travelled since the second century after Christ. From the time 
of Constantine the general protest against Christian participation 
in war is only voiced by heretical sects, about whom we have 
unfortunately little definite information, and that little, since it 
comes mainly from their persecutors, cannot be accepted without 
question. Even in the second century heresies appeared, to protest 
against the growing conformity of the Church to the world. The 
reversion to a more simple, and even ascetic, creed began in Phrygia, 
the home of many Eastern cults. Its leader, Montanus, gave his 
name to the sect of which Tertullian was the most famous member, 
and it is mainly from the latter's strenuous opposition to war and 
military service that the deduction is drawn that such opposition 
was a special feature of the Montanist creed. The body, though 
persecuted, survived in Asia and North Africa into the fifth century, 
and may have linked itself on to later heretical movements. 
Marcion, the founder of the other great heresy of the second 

1 Neander, Church History, v. 125. * Mansi ConcL, t. xiii. f. 1054. 


century, was also a native of Asia Minor, from Sinope in Pontus. 
In his teachings there was much that was wild and strained, largely 
borrowed from the confused metaphysics of the Gnostics. But a 
distinguishing feature of his heresy was the rejection of the Old 
Testament on the ground of its incompatibility with the Gospels 
and the teachings of St. Paul. The Old Testament God (he 
argued), harsh and revengeful, urging men to war and cruelty, could 
not be the Father of the merciful, peace-giving Christ. Rather 
he was a false power, the Gnostic Demiurge, inferior and opposed 
to the true God. In fact, Marcion approached the position of 
the liberal theologian who told his opponent that " your God is my 
Devil." Origen, who detested war as much as Marcion did, tried 
to meet the attack on the Old Testament by an attempt at allegory, 
explaining its frequent wars as types of the Christian struggle against 
sin and evil. 1 Many Marcionites in time were absorbed into 
Manichaeanism, but the influence of the sect is marked in some 
later heresies. 

Did we know more about a Jewish sect, the Essenes, which 
arose in the second century before Christ, we might be able to 
trace its influence also in the early Christian Church. But the 
accounts given by Philo and Josephus of these ascetic celibate com- 
munistic groups, dwelling in villages on the shores of the Dead Sea, 
do not afford much clue to their origin or development. Among 
the oaths by which they were bound, one is said to have been " to 
hurt no man voluntarily or at the command of another," and Philo 
says expressly that among the trades forbidden to them was the 
manufacture of weapons or of war equipment. 

In the thousand years between Augustine and Luther the Church 

was disturbed by many groups of " heretics " or dissenters from 

established orthodoxy. Those which are of interest in relation to 

the question of peace and war seem, broadly, to belong to two 

classes. Some, under the influence of the Gnostics and possibly 

of older Eastern cults, adopted a rigid asceticism, cut themselves 

off from the ordinary practices of the world, and were accused of 

secret unhallowed rites and mysteries. They are often described as 

Manichaeans, but some of their extravagances seem to point to a 

i Harnack remarks {Militia Christi, p. 26) that neither side in the controversy 
had any idea of religious evolution of the possibility of development in man's 
conception of the Deity. But (he adds) it will always be the glory of the Marcionite 
Church that it chose rather to sacrifice the Old Testament than to dim the picture 
of the Father by inserting the lineaments of a God of War. 


more remote origin and to be a survival of the taboos and fetishes 
of primitive races. The other early " dissenters " were groups of 
earnest believers, drawn together to practise their interpretation of 
true Christianity. This, they thought, was revealed to them 
through prayer and meditation, either singly or in united worship, 
and through study of the New Testament. But the actual points 
of dissent are curiously the same in all these sects. They tended to 
exalt the New Testament and belittle the Old, to reject or modify 
the distinction between priest and layman, and in some cases the 
ecclesiastical sacraments and ritual. They opposed war, military 
service and judicial oaths, and denied the right of the State to inflict 
capital punishment. It is noteworthy that it is against the earlier 
and less-known sects that the Church controversialists and historians 
level the most damaging charges charges which bear a marked 
resemblance to the distorted opinions about the early Christians 
held by their pagan neighbours. These early sects are conveniently 
labelled Gnostic or Manichaean, and Dualistic views are ascribed 
to them, but in sober fact very little is known about either their 
origin, their numbers, or their influence. 1 

The Paulicians, who existed in Armenia in tho seventh century, 
may have been descendants of Marcionite communities, if it is true 
that their name was acquired by the emphasis they laid upon the 
Pauline writings. Their views spread westward ; in the ninth 
century they appeared in what is now Bulgaria and Macedonia 
under the Slav name of " Bogomili," or " Lovers of God." Many 
of the Christians in Bosnia at the time of the Turkish conquest 
belonged to this sect, and its views soon met with a welcome in 
parts of Western Europe, particularly in North Italy and the South 
of France. Various titles were given to them Paterini, Publicani, 
and others of obscure origin but the most generally accepted was 

1 Ordinary works of reference give some information about the sects briefly 
mentioned in this chapter. For more detail the reader may be referred to the 
following : Hastings, Dictionary of Religion and Ethics ; SchafF-Herzog, Encyclo- 
pedic ; Harnack, History of Dogma (English translation) ; Rufus Jones, Studies 
in Mystical Religion, 1909 ; Spiritual Reformers in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth 
Centuries, 19 14. For the Waldenses. Muller, Die Waldenses . . . bis zum Anfang 
des 14 Jahrhunderts 1886, is a learned work with an exhaustive bibliography 
of mediaeval authorities. ; S. R. Maitland, Facts and Documents . . . illustrative 
of the Ancient Albigenses and Waldenses, 1832 ; and H. C. Lta, History of the 
Inquisition, i. 1888, are also valuable ; R. Barclay, Inner Life of the Religious 
Societies of the Commonwealth, 1877, has a mass of information about early 
Continental and English Baptists, including the Mennonites. 


Greek, Cathari, " the pure ones." 1 In Italy Atto, Bishop of 
Vercelli, denounced them in a.d. 942 for their errors (the tenets 
mentioned above), and particularly for their assertion that the law of 
Moses was not a guide to Christians. Since the Crusade of 1208 
against the heretics of Southern France was first undertaken against 
those round Albi in Languedoc, the French Cathari were then 
and later termed Albigenses, but this was a wider term, and included 
other sects, especially the Waldenses. The more extreme among 
the Cathari are said to have practised celibacy, self-mutilation, and 
fasting, and to have abstained entirely from animal food. 

The Waldenses, though undoubtedly influenced by Catharist 
teaching, looked upon the sect as unorthodox, and did not acknow- 
ledge any connection. 3 They had themselves a clear starting-point. 
In the latter half of the twelfth century Peter de Waldo, a rich 
merchant of Lyons, translated the New Testament and some writings 
of the early Fathers into the Romance tongue, and, adopting the 
doctrine of apostolical poverty, sold his possessions and began to 
preach a simple gospel. A group of adherents soon gathered round 
him, from which other preachers went out in apostolic fashion, 
two and two. The Waldensians, or " Poor Men of Lyons," as they 
were sometimes called, spread over Southern France, Italy, and 
parts of Germany, and their numbers gave grave alarm to the 
ecclesiastical authorities. Contemporary chroniclers give a curious 
list of their chief errors, which were : the wearing of sandals 
" like apostles," the refusal to take oaths or to take human life on 
any ground, and the assertion that the sacraments could be adminis- 
tered by any believer. This last tenet, however, was certainly 

1 According to some the Bosnian heretics were refugees from France and 
Italy, survivors of the Albigensian persecutions of the thirteenth century. The 
early Crusaders considered that the " Bulgari " were all heretics. Hence from 
" Bulgare " came the term of vulgar abuse, bougre, which originally meant 
" heretic." So the German Ketzer (also = heretic) comes from the Italian 
" Gazzari," a corruption of Cathari. M. Emile Gebhart, Mystics and Heretics 
in Italy, p. 54, distinguishes the Paterini, as a local Milanese movement, from 
the Cathari. 

* " Nor was the old traditional Church doctrine assailed by the Waldensians. 
They diverged only in respect of certain doctrines which bore upon practice. . . . 
The rejection of oaths, of service in war, of civil jurisdiction, of all shedding of 
blood, seemed to them, as to so many mediaeval sects, simply to follow from the 
Sermon on the Mount" (Harnack, History of Dogma, vi. 90 note). The Inquisition 
of Toulouse in the fourteenth century distinguished between " heretics " 
(i.e. Cathari) and "Waldenses." Gebhart, op. cit., p. 58, identifies the Italian 
Waldenses with the " hurniliati." 


not part of the original doctrine, and does not appear to have been 
universally held at any time. Dr. S. R. Maitland, in his acute 
and critical book on the Waldenses, 1 quotes a treatise, On the Sects 
of Modern Heretics, by Reinerius Saccho (circa 1254). In it is 
included among the errors of the " Poor Men of Lyons " the belief 
that " the Pope and all bishops are homicides on account of wars." 
There is an interesting description of the manner in which heretics 
" introduce themselves to the notice of the great." " The heretic 
draws a comparison between the circumstances of the Church and 
those of his sect ; saying thus . . . they [the ecclesiastics] fight and 
make wars, and command the poor to be killed and burned, to 
whom it is said, ' He that taketh the sword shall perish by the 
sword.' " The Crusade of 1 208, and later persecutions, scattered 
the remnants of the Cathari and Waldensians far and wide. Some 
turned eastward, to Hungary and Bohemia. Waldensians joined 
the " Bohemian Brothers " (to be mentioned later) about the year 
1467. Others, possibly, reached England. But even in Provence 
the community lingered on in secret. A didactic Romance poem 
of Waldensian teaching, the Noble Lesson^ is assigned by scholars 
to the early fifteenth century. Some of its verses teach pure non- 

The Old Law commands to fight against enemies and render evil for evil ; 

But the New says, Avenge not thyself, 

But leave vengeance to the heavenly King, 

And let those live in peace who do thee harm ; 

And thou shalt find pardon with the heavenly King. 

The Old Law says, Thou shalt love thy friend, and hate thy enemy ; 

But the New says, Thou shalt no more do this ; 

But love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you 

And pray for them who persecute you, and seek occasion against you ; 

That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven. 

The Old Law commands to punish malefactors ; 

But the New says, Pardon all people, 

And thou shalt find pardon with the Father Almighty ; 

For if thou dost not pardon thou shalt not be saved. 

From the end of the fifteenth century onwards the Waldensian 

communities which had taken refuge in the mountain valleys of 

Savoy were exposed to persecution and outrage at the hands of 

Catholic mercenaries at the order of the Pope and the Piedmontese 

rulers. Milton's sonnet, " On the late Massacre in Piedmont," 

1 Maitland, Facts and Documents Illustrative of . . . the Waldenses, 1832, 
pp. 400 foil. 


was evoked by one of these atrocities in 1655. The exact date 
at which the persecuted began to resist by force is doubtful, but 
from time to time the inhabitants of one of the valleys, maddened 
by their sufferings, rose to arms, when struggles ensued, conducted 
by both sides with every circumstance of atrocity. The best-known 
episode is the war in the French Alpine valleys at the end of the 
seventeenth century led on the Waldensian side by one of their 
pastors, Arnaud. 1 

At first efforts were made to win back the Waldensians to the 
Church by other methods than persecution. Innocent III, a wise 
and far-seeing statesman, about the time of the Crusade of 1208 
formed some " Catholic Poor Men " (or Waldensians reconverted 
to the Roman Church) into a brotherhood of preaching friars, 
allowing them freedom from oaths and military service, " so far 
as this may be done without prejudice or offence to any and with 
the sanction of the secular arm." Prejudice and malice seem to 
have prevented the development of the body, but the scheme has 
a curious resemblance to the Third Order founded a few years 
later by Francis of Assisi. These Tertiaries were to be laymen 
and women living according to a simple rule, which included a 
prohibition against wearing weapons or serving as soldiers. This 
was at a time when Italy was desolated by public and private war, 
when robbers swarmed on the high-roads, and duelling was already 
an obligation for a man of honour. " For nearly seventy years 
the Tertiaries kept their rule. Sometimes, in the war of town 
with town, the Italian podestas would call them to serve along with 
their fellows as soldiers to defend their native cities. But when 
they would not, the witness of their whole lives agreed with their 
refusal to be unfaithful to the command of Christ, and their fellow- 
townsmen had not the heart to punish as criminals the men whom 
they felt to be their best and most useful citizens." 2 At last the 

1 The sympathy evoked in Protestant countries led the sufferers to put forward 
in the seventeenth century entirely unhistorical claims to a direct continuity of 
descent from the primitive Church. Waldo was forgotten, and the name Waldenses 
or Vaudois, derived from the Valles in which (it was supposed) the true faith had 
been kept pure and without addition from the early days of Christianity. In 
1658, George Fox urged his fellow Quakers to contribute to a general subscription 
raised in England for the relief of the Vaudois, but pointed the moral against 
all persecution in a letter to the Protector and his Government (Fox, Journal, 
8th edition, i. 435). 

2 T. Edmund Harvey, " St. Francis in History " (Friends' Quarterly Examiner, 
January 1904). 


rule was altered : by a Bull of 1289 Pope Nicholas IV allowed 
them to carry weapons for defence, and to fight " in defence of the 

During the fourteenth century the first English voices are 
heard against war, evoked perhaps by the sufferings of the long 
struggle with France. WyclifFe's study of the New Testament 
drew him away from the prevalent standards in civil and religious 
life. In more than one treatise he attacked war in vigorous terms. 
" Lord, what honour falleth to a knight that he kills many men ? 
The hangman killeth many more, and with a better title. Better 
were it for men to be butchers of beasts than butchers of their fellow- 
men." 1 These views were adopted by the Lollards, the spread 
of whose opinions through the work of" poor preachers " is curiously 
parallel to that of the earlier Waldensians. A Lollard petition to 
the Parliament of 1395, in stating their views, declared that "all 
wars were against the principles of the New Testament, and were 
but murdering and plundering the poor to win glory for kings." 
One of the accusations against Oldcastle, their chief leader in the 
time of Henry IV, was his opposition to the French war. About 
1445, Reginald Pecock, in his quaintly named Repressor of Over- 
Much Blaming of the Clergy^ mentions as a Lollard doctrine that 
war and capital punishment were unlawful. A late Lollard tract, 
The Sum of the Scriptures (which probably belongs to Tudor times), 
says : " Men of war are not allowed by the Gospel, the Gospel 
knoweth peace and not war." 3 The Lollards were popularly 
supposed to be revolutionaries and conspirators (the same charge 
was brought against the early Quakers). Wycliffe had an undoubted 
influence upon Huss, possibly through members of the retinue which 
Anne of Bohemia, wife of Richard II, brought with her to England. 
But the Hussite wars, after the martyrdom of the reformer, were 
not peaceable fruits of his teaching. Yet one body, the Bohemian 
Brethren, or Unitas Fratrum, stood apart from the two main divi- 
sions of Hussites. They refused any kind of military service, and it 
was to them that the refugee Waldensians joined themselves. The 
Brethren spread into Poland and Moravia, but everywhere they 
endured bitter persecution, and in the Thirty Years' War were 
almost extirpated. A remnant from Moravia settled in 1722 upon 
the estates of a pious nobleman, Count Zinzendorf, at Herrnhut 

1 Quoted in Arbiter in Council, p. 16. 

z Rufus Jones, Studies in Mystical Religion, p. 365. 


in Saxony. The Count soon joined the body, and by him they 
were again organized into a sect, or, as they preferred to consider, 
a branch of the Lutheran Church, known in Germany as " Herrn- 
hiiter," or " Briider," and in England and America as " Moravians." 
Their virtues and the important influence they have exerted in the 
cause of the slave, of foreign missions, and through Wesley and 
Whitefield, upon English religious life, are well known. They are 
still supposed to be principled against military service and war, but 
this was denied by English members in the Great War. According 
to Franklin (in his Autobiography) the Pennsylvian Moravians at 
Bethlehem took vigorous measure of defence after the massacre of 
their Indian co-religionists at Gnadenhiitten. 

While these pre-Reformation sects undoubtedly held peace 
principles, they came into collision with the Church on so many 
other points of doctrine and practice that this one does not seem 
to have been the cause of much persecution. 

At the dawn of the Reformation some of the most distinguished 
men of the New Learning were found on the side of peace. Luis 
Vives, the Spaniard, has been already mentioned. His greater 
friend Erasmus was one of the most eloquent and earnest exponents 
of the contradiction between war and Christianity. He opposed a 
projected war against the Turks with the remark that " the most 
effective methods of vanquishing the Turks would be to let them 
see in our lives the light which Christ taught and expressed, to let 
them feel that we were not lusting for their dominions, nor thirsting 
for their gold, but seeking their salvation and Christ's glory." * 
Again : " War breeds war ; vengeance is repaid by vengeance. 
Let us now try the new policy of friendliness and goodwill." 2 And 
again : " Christians who defend war must defend the dispositions 
which lead to war ; and these dispositions are absolutely forbidden 
by the Gospel." 3 But the more powerful sects produced by the 
Reformation did not include among their tenets any scruple against 
war. The history of Huguenots in France and of Lutherans in 
Germany, Scandinavia, and Holland contain many bloody pages. 
The peace doctrine was left to the despised Baptists, or Anabaptists 
as they were popularly called. There were many shades of belief 

1 Epistle to Volsius, prefaced to Miiitis Ckristiani Enchiridion, 1518. 
a Querela pads. 

3 His English friend Colet, Dean of St. Paul's, declared that "an unjust peace 
is better than the justest war." 


and practice among the early Baptists, but two facts stand out clearly. 
First, the wild spirits who ran riot in Munster in the year 1536 
were in no respect typical, though they succeeded in bringing the 
name of Anabaptist into a disrepute which it retained for more 
than a century. Secondly, the movement known as " Anabap- 
tism," which included such sects as the Schwenkfeldians and 
Huterites, 1 was not directly inspired by the sixteenth-century 
Reformers, but rather was in continuity with pre-Reformation 
bodies. It would, for example, be a hard matter to disentangle 
the mutual relations of Lollardry and Anabaptism. As in trade, 
so in religion, there was much intercourse betweeen England and the 
Netherlands. Anabaptists from Holland and Germany appear in 
England as early as the reign of Henry VIII, and they endured 
martyrdom at the hands of the Tudors. Persecution at home 
drove many to settle in England under Elizabeth, and, in turn, 
when William the Silent established religious liberty, the persecuted 
English Separatists took refuge in Holland. 

In 1530 an Ecclesiastical Commission found a sect holding 
" divers heretical opinions " such as the unlawfulness of war. 
" Cristen men among themselves have nought to do with the 
sworde." These may have been Lollards or Anabaptists, but it 
was an early English Anabaptist who was charged, among other 
heresies, with asserting : " I am bound to love the Turk from the 
bottom of my heart." a 

John Smith (or Smyth), one of the most influential and learned 
of the first generation of English Baptists, who died in 161 2, 
declared in his Confession that Christ called His flock " to the 

1 The Schwenkfeldians were followers of Caspar Schwenkfeld, a Silesian noble- 
man. He joined the Reformation movement in 1525, but his " Quaker " views 
on the Sacraments and war drew down on him the hatred both of Catholics and 
Lutherans. His followers were greatly persecuted. In the early eighteenth century 
one remnant joined the Moravians, and another emigrated to Pennsylvania where 
a small Church still survives. The Huterites (led by Jacob Hunter) took refuge 
in Moravia about 1535. English Quakers found them at Pressburg in Hungary 
in 1 66 1. Their general views were almost identical with the Mennonite Baptists, 
but they practised communism, and carried their peace principles to the point 
of refusing payment of war taxes. A few Churches founded by emigrants exist 
in South Dakota. 

1 Barclay, Inner Life, p. 14. Jones, Studies in Mystical Religion, 
pp. 387 foil. Elizabeth burnt two Dutch Anabaptists at Smithfield in 1575. 
Edmund Wightman, a " Baptist," was burnt for Unitarian opinions at Lichfield 
in 16 1 2. There were migrations of Separatists from England to Holland from 
1593 to 1597, 1604 to 1606 (led by John Smyth), and in 1608. The last group were 
eventually the " Pilgrim Fathers " of the New World. 


following of His unarmed and unweaponed life and of His cross- 
bearing footsteps." Smyth was closely connected with the Dutch 
Mennonites, and during the early seventeenth century some of the 
English Baptist congregations were in rather loose union with the 
Dutch Mennonite Church. But a division soon arose between 
them concerning war and the use of arms, which was naturally 
intensified by the outbreak of the Civil War. Even after the 
Restoration, however, there were Baptist congregations who main- 
tained an objection to war, though the Friends considered them 
but lukewarm in their testimony. 1 

The Mennonites just mentioned were the most important and 
interesting of the sects into which the Continental Anabaptists 
developed. Menno Symons was a priest in West Friesland, where 
in 1535 there was a fierce persecution and massacre of Anabaptists. 
Menno was so struck by the courage and constancy of the martyrs 
that he began to inquire into their creed. In 1536 he appeared 
as a leader of the moderate party in their protest against the fanatics 
of Munster. Soon he had so stamped his personality upon the 
Church that it received his name. The Mennonites became estab- 
lished in Holland, France, Switzerland, and Germany. They 
practised adult baptism and silent prayer, opposed war, oaths, capital 
punishment, and a separate and paid class of ministers, and laid great 
stress upon integrity of lire and the practice of benevolence. 2 These 
characteristics tempted some of their early historians to claim them 
as direct descendants of the Waldenses, and the same claim has been 
made for the Anabaptists in general. On this it has been said in 
a recent treatment of the subject 3 : 

1 A little-known sect, the " Family of Love," founded by a Westphalian, 
Henry Nicholas, in Germany and England during Elizabeth's reign, also opposed 
war and capital punishment. This body was neither Catholic nor Reformed, and 
members were permitted to attend the services of either Church (Barclay, Inner 
Life, pp. 25 foil., and references there given. Jones, Studies in Mystical Religion, 
pp. 436 foil.). It died out in England during the Civil War. Barclay in his 
Apology (1676) rebukes those who oppose war (probably the Baptists) and yet take 
part in the public prayers and thanksgivings for victory. 

1 The Mennonites are sometimes called " Unitarian Baptists," but Menno 
appears to have held the orthodox view of the Trinity, though he thought the 
term itself unscriptural (Barclay, Inner Life, p. 81). 

3 Encycl. Religion and Ethics, article " Anabaptists." The Collegiants of 
Holland (Spinoza's friends) in the seventeenth century were largely drawn from the 
Mennonites and held their views on war. Another Baptist sect, the Tunkers 
(i.e. " Dippers "), Dunkers, or Dunkards arose in Westphalia about the year 
1708. Persecution drove them to Pennsylvania ten years later. They now 


" The similarity in doctrines, spirit, and organization is so 
marked as almost to compel belief in some sort of historical suc- 
cession ; and yet the effort to trace this connection has not so far 
been successful. Moreover, several considerations militate against 
such a conclusion. (1) The Anabaptists themselves were not 
conscious of such connection, regarding themselves as the spiritual 
children of a renewed study of the Bible. (2) All their leaders, 
so far as their lives were known, came out of the Catholic Church. 
(3) They had little or no connection with older sects after their 
rise. These considerations render it probable that they, like the 
sects of the Middle Ages, are the offspring of a renewed Bible study, 
and that the similarity is the result of independent Bible study under 
similar circumstances and controlling ideas." 

The testimony against war and oaths caused the Mennonites 
as much trouble as it did the Quakers later. In all other respects 
they made excellent and law-abiding citizens, but they were gradually 
driven out from each country that adopted compulsory military 
service. In Holland they early obtained complete exemption, but 
in the excitement of the Dutch Revolution, 1787-97, by which a 
short-lived Republic was founded, many abandoned their principles 
and resorted to arms. When the country was overrun by Napoleon 
the majority submitted to conscription, and the Churches who 
maintained their old principles gradually emigrated to Canada and 
the States. 1 

In France the sect mainly settled among the Vosges Mountains. 
They were exempted by Louis XIV, and protected from the con- 
sequences of the Edict of Nantes. In 1793 they petitioned the 
Assembly concerning military service, and received exemption from 
combatant duties, but were required to serve in hospitals and transport 
or to pay a commutation. The Committee of Public Safety, in 
granting the concession, declared : " We have observed in this 
people a simple heart and sweetness of character, and we think that 
a good Government ought to enlist all such virtues for the public 
good," sentiments which were signed, amongst others, by Robe- 
number about 100,000 in the United States (where their peace principles were 
recognized by the law), and there are small bodies in Sweden and Denmark. 

1 The Quaker, Thomas Story, was told at Rotterdam in 1715 that the 
" Menists . . . still keep up their old testimony against fighting and swearing, 
yet they are not so lively in worship or so near the truth as they once were " 
{Journal, p. 520). In 1821, another Quaker, Thomas Shillitoe, found the testimony 
against war " had quite fallen to the ground " (Shillitoe's Journal, i. 237). 


spierre. Napoleon and later Governments continued the exemption. 
The sect still existed in the year i860. 1 

Very early in their history some Dutch Mennonites were allowed 
by Sigismund, King of Poland, to settle in what is now East Prussia, 
where they enjoyed religious freedom in return for their skilful 
cultivation of the land. The sect spread and flourished, but in 
1723 Frederick William of Prussia threatened them with military 
service. So numerous an emigration to Pennsylvania and other 
parts of America was the result that the project was abandoned. 
In 1780 Frederick the Great confirmed their privileges. But 
soon the Prussian Government became alarmed at the increase 
in their numbers and in the amount of land held by them. In 1787, 
and again in 1801, regulations were imposed which were designed 
to check their growth. The consequence was a new emigration, 
this time to Russia, until the Government was again forced to make 
concessions. 2 They were exempted from military service during 
the war of 181 3, and retained this privilege until the general con- 
scription law for the North German Confederation in 1867. By 
a Cabinet order of 1868 the Mennonites were given the choice of 
accepting non-combatant duties in the Army under the military 
oath or of emigrating. Opinion in the body was divided. Many 
emigrated, some accepted the compromise, while others, even in 
Prussia, maintained their testimony. The emigration to Russia 
already mentioned was due to that astute monarch Catherine II, 
who wished for emigrants to cultivate her new conquests, and found 
her opportunity in the Prussian religious difficulty. She granted 
the Mennonites free land and a charter of full religious liberty and 
exemption from military service. This charter was confirmed by 
her successor, Paul. For eighty years and more these Mennonite 
colonies flourished exceedingly, and their members were held in high 
estimation as good farmers and good citizens. The Quakers, William 
Allen and Stephen Grellet, visited the settlements round the Dnieper 
in 1819. William Allen, in his Journal, gives an attractive account 
of them, adding that a new migration was expected. " The King 
of Prussia does not wish to part with them, as they are indeed among 
the very best of his subjects, but as they cannot bear arms the 

1 Vide article by W. Tallack in British Friend, 1900, p. 242, also Barclay, 
Inner Life, p. 610. 

1 The Mennonites seem always to have fared better than the small body of 
German Friends which arose in Prussia at the end of the eighteenth century. 
Vide post, Chapter XIV. 


popular odium is so strong against them that they are glad to get 
away." * 

In the early 'seventies, however, the Russian Government passed 
a law of universal military service. At once the Mennonites pre- 
pared to emigrate, and some of the leading members had reached 
the United States before the Government intervened. General 
Todleben, the hero of Sebastopol, told the Czar that he was driving 
away his best agriculturists, and suggested a compromise. Military 
service would not be required of Mennonites called up if they would 
undertake to serve three years in the Forestry Department, and to 
learn ambulance work in case of need. As in Prussia, some accepted 
the offer (in this case, of course, the forestry work was civilian in 
character), but there was a large emigration to America during 
the years immediately succeeding the law. English Friends helped 
the poorer Mennonites to leave Russia. In the United States and 
Canada they were specifically exempted from military service. The 
Stundist bodies in Russia show marked traces of Mennonite influence. 3 
Two other Russian sects deserve notice. Allen and Grellet in 1 8 1 9 
visited bodies of " Molokans " and " Doukhobors " near the Men- 
nonite settlements, and while finding much in common with the 
former, considered that the latter held unbalanced and dubious 
opinions. Fifty years later two Yorkshire Friends, Isaac Robson 
and Thomas Harvey, paid a visit of religious service to South Russia. 3 
They too came into contact with the Molokans. One member 
who claimed to be more than a hundred years old gave the tradi- 
tional version of their origin. A century before, General Tverchikoff 
had been sent to London on a mission by the Empress Catherine. 
There he and one of his under-officers became Quakers. The 
General dared not reveal his change of mind, but the officer began 
to preach and to make converts. Catherine heard of the new sect, 

1 William Allen, Life, ii. 61 foil. An interesting modern account of the 
Russian body is in Hume, Thirty-Jive Tears in Russia, 191 5, pp. 55 foil. 

2 The Mennonites are now estimated at 250,000. These include : 

(1) The Dutch body, which has given up the war tenet. 

(2) Those in Prussia, South Germany, and in the States (descendants of 

South Germans) who leave it an open question, which in practice 
means, in conscriptionist countries, military service. 

(3) The largest body in Prussia, Russia, Canada, the United States, and 

a few hundred in Galicia which maintains the old testimony 
(pjide Chapter XVIII, pp. 518-20 for the American Mennonites' 
attitude during the Great War). 
i Report of visit (privately printed) 1867. In D. 



and after inquiry declared that their principles were those of the 
Bible and they must be protected. Persecution was their lot, 
however, in later reigns. Their own name was " Spiritual Chris- 
tians," " Molokans " or " Milk-eaters " was a nickname derived 
from their non-observance of the fasts of the Russian Church. At 
that time (1867) they were exempted from military service, but 
had to pay heavily for the privilege. Their Quaker visitors thought 
their objection was not to actual war, but to the ikon worship and 
other observances inevitable in the Army. 

Almost the same story of their own origin is told by the 
Doukhobors. According to them a retired Prussian non-com- 
missioned officer (probably in Russian service) settled in a village 
in the Kharkoff district about the year 1740 and founded the sect. 
But Mr. Aylmer Maude x in his study of the Doukhobors doubts 
the tradition. Possibly it was borrowed from the Molokans, with 
whom the Doukhobors have at times had some connection. In 
any case the term " Quaker " has often been applied on the Continent 
to mystical sects having no connection with Friends. The advocacy 
of Tolstoy, and their wholesale emigration to Canada, have made 
the Doukhobors comparatively well known to the English public. 
Their peace tenets were a late development. When conscription 
was imposed on the Caucasus in 1887 they submitted, and did not 
resist service until 1895. Many Russians have adopted Tolstoyan 
views on war and force, but these do not form a separate sect. A 
number of these Tolstoyans were imprisoned or banished to Siberia 
for refusal to serve in the Great War. 2 

There is another Continental sect of more recent growth. The 
" Nazarenes " appeared in Hungary, Austria and Bohemia after the 
year 1845, and in thirty years' time numbered several thousands. 
It is tempting to connect them with the Mennonites, whom they 
greatly resemble in their tenets, but they appear to have an inde- 
pendent and modern origin. One account naively remarks that 
" it is not to the bearing of arms in itself which they object, but 

1 A Peculiar People The Doukhobors. Mr. Maude also doubts the story of 
the success of their attitude of non-resistance in winning over the wild tribes of 
the Caucasus, after their banishment thither in 1841. But for this there seems to 
be more evidence. The help given to the Doukhobors by Friends is described 
in Chapter X. 

Further details about these sects, some of which even call themselves " Friends " 
or " Quakers," were given in the Friend, January 6, 1923, in an article partly 
based on a letter from Countess Olga Tolstoy. See also for the treatment of 
Pacifists in Russia, J. W. Graham, Conscription and Conscience, pp. 365-8. 


the purpose of killing the enemy, which they regard as anti- 
Christian." This opposition has brought on them much suffering 
and imprisonment in Austria and Hungary, though occasionally 
they have been allowed to give hospital work in lieu of military 
service. One Nazarene, Peter Zimbricht, of Vienna, was forced 
into the army in the war of 1866, and dragged from battle to battle 
with weapons tied upon him. At Koniggratz he was actually 
sentenced to death, but escaped the penalty. A branch of the sect 
arose in Serbia about the year 1875, and in that country they have 
endured frequent and severe imprisonment. Report has it that 
Nazarenes were shot for refusal to serve in the Great War, both in 
Hungary and Serbia, but complete information is not as yet available. 1 
After the adoption of conscription in the war by the 
United Kingdom, appeals to tribunals for exemption reminded the 
public that, in addition to the Friends, various smaller sects, such 
as the Christadelphians and the Seventh Day Adventists, which 
have arisen in the nineteenth century hold principles opposed to 
war. The Plymouth Brethren are content with an exemption 
from combatant service. This summary of the history of peace 
sects in the Christian Church may serve to show that the peace 
principle is generally held in common with some other very definite 
views on the obligations of Christianity. It may also remind us 
that (in the words of a recent study of religious thought) " Quakerism 
is no isolated or sporadic religious phenomenon. It is deeply rooted 
and embedded in a far wider movement that had been accumulating 
volume and power for more than a century before George Fox 
became a ' prophet ' of it to the English people. And both in its 
new English, and in its earlier Continental form, it was a serious 
attempt to achieve a more complete Reformation, to restore primitive 
Christianity, and to change the basis of authority from external 
things, of any sort whatever, to the interior life and spirit of man."* 

1 Details have lately been collected by J. W. Graham, Conscription and 
Conscience, pp. 354-7. Vide article on the " Nazarenes " in an extinct periodical, 
The Messiah's Kingdom, 1889, and also an appendix to the Report of 1. Robson and 
T. Harvey. The Society of Friends in 1889 sent an address of sympathy to some 
Nazarenes imprisoned at Belgrade, which reached them just as they were released 
{Proceedings of London Yearly Meeting, 1889, p. 77). 

2 Rufus Jones, Spiritual Reformers of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, 
p. 348. 


Our forefathers and predecessors were raised to be a people in a time of 
great commotions, contests, and wars, begun and carried on for the vindica- 
tion of religious and civil liberty, in which many of them were zealously 
engaged, when they received the knowledge of the truth ; but through 
the influence of the love of Christ in their minds they ceased from conferring 
with flesh and blood, and became obedient to the heavenly vision, in which 
they clearly saw that all wars and fightings proceeded from the spirit of 
this world, which is enmity with God, and that they must manifest 
themselves to be the followers of the Prince of Peace, by meekness, humility, 
and patient sufferings. Address of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to 
Friends in Pennsylvania, 1774. 





Throughout the sixteen centuries which separated the rise of 
the Society of Friends from the days of the Early Church the sects 
and teachers just described had maintained a witness for Christian 
simplicity in life and doctrine. At times the witness had been 
faintly uttered and almost unheeded, but it was never wholly silenced. 
It is impossible, however, to trace a direct connection between 
these earlier movements and the " great openings " which came 
to George Fox, the young Leicestershire shepherd, in the days of 
the Civil War. 1 Filled as he was with the conviction that his 
spiritual enlightenment was the immediate gift of God, he acknow- 
ledged no guidance from men or books. Yet, least of any sect, 
can Quakerism be understood apart from the religious and social 
conditions amidst which it came into being. It is not only to the 
personal experiences of George Fox, but to the general mind of 
England in his day, that we must look for an explanation of the 
rapid establishment and extension of the Society of Friends under 
the Commonwealth and the later Stuarts. 

In the years of struggle between Parliament and King, and in those 
which followed Charles' execution, a hard Old Testament Calvinism 
was dominant. The Army was religious, the Government was 
religious, and religion was military and political, bringing the arm 
of flesh to reinforce the sword of the Spirit. Episcopalianism was 
in hiding, a current running underground, to reappear with gathered 
strength at the Restoration ; Puritanism, stern and forbidding, 

1 Fox certainly had a good deal of intercourse with Baptists during his six 
years (1643-9) f spiritual conflict, and many of his first followers came from 
that sect. 



though from many aspects full of grandeur, ruled in Church and 
State. Yet amid its rocks and precipices, where weak heads and 
hearts at times quailed, falling headlong into awful gulfs of pre- 
destined sin and reprobation, there rose in places clear springs of 
spiritual refreshment or the fiery breathings of spiritual ardour. 
While Presbyterian and Independent wrangled for political supre- 
macy, little companies of " Seekers " met together to wait in silence 
for the divine teaching, and the Ranter and the Anabaptist, with 
stammering tongues and strange tremblings, strove to deliver their 
half-inspired, half-hysterical messages. " To be a Seeker," wrote 
Cromwell himself, " is to be of the best sect next to a finder ; and 
such an one shall every faithful, humble seeker be at the end. 
Happy seeker, happy finder ! " * Fox, in the days of his early 
struggles, met at times with these little bands, 3 and many Seekers 
at last found rest for their souls within the Society of Friends, or, 
as William Penn expressed it, " what people had been vainly seeking 
without, with much pains and cost, they by this ministry found 
within . . . the right way to peace with God." 3 

The seed of Fox's teaching fell upon prepared ground. But 
it would give a false impression, and be gravely unjust to the brave 
" Publishers of Truth," his friends and fellow-workers, to identify 
the teaching of the Society exclusively with one man's utterances 
or to imply that he ever imposed a rigid body of doctrine upon the 
new sect. A detailed history of the beginnings of Quakerism 
does not fall within the scope of this study. It has been told by 
many writers, most recently and fully by W. C. Braithwaite, with 
first-hand knowledge and quaint simplicity by the Dutch Quaker, 
William Sewel ; 4 but to understand the basis of " Friends' ancient 
testimony against wars and fightings " it is necessary to consider 
the principle which inspired the life and thought of Fox himself 
and of the community which gathered round him. The early 
pages of his 'Journal tell of his vain efforts to gain help and comfort 
from the creeds and teachers of the day. At last (in the year 
1 647), " when all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, 
so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could I tell what 
to do : then, O ! then I heard a voice which said, ' There is one, 

1 Cromwell to Bridget Ireton, October 25, 1646. 

2 Fox, Journal, 8th edition, vol. i., ch. i, ii. 

3 Ibid., Preface, p. xxvi. 

4 W. C. Braithwaite, The Beginnings of Quakerism, 1912. William Sewel, 
History of the Quakers, 1722. 


even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition ' ; and when 
I heard it, my heart did leap for joy. . . . For though I read 
the Scriptures that spoke of Christ and of God ; yet I knew Him 
not but [except] by revelation, as he who hath the key did open, 
and as the Father of Life drew me to his Son by his Spirit." I Soon 
it became clear to him that the revelation was not for him alone : 
" With and by this divine power and Spirit of God, and the light 
of Jesus, I was to bring people off from all their own ways, to Christ, 
the new and living way, and from their Churches, which men had 
made and gathered, to the Church in God, the general assembly 
written in heaven which Christ is the head of : and from the world's 
teachers, made by men, to learn of Christ." 2 

This revelation, the light of Christ within, is the central truth 
of Quaker teaching. But to Fox and the early Friends it was no 

Sudden blaze . . . spread o'er the expanse of heaven, 

which in one flash unveiled every detail of the road before them. 
It was rather a clear ray shed on the immediate path, a principle 
to guide in each new perplexity. It is a strange misreading of 
Friends' principles which accuses them of too literal reliance upon 
certain passages of Scripture. The words of Fox are echoed with 
slight variations by many others in the first generation of the Society, 
" These things I did not see by the help of man nor by the letter, 
though they are written in the letter, but I saw them in the light 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by his immediate Spirit and power." 3 
Hence it was not primarily by the literal interpretation of certain 
verses in the Sermon on the Mount that their testimony against 
wars and fightings arose, but by an inward convincement that such 
practices were contrary to the Spirit of Christ. 

In the years from 1643 to *647> when Fox was passing through 
fierce temptations and inward struggles, his friends were ready 
with suggestions for his cure. Tobacco, psalm-singing, and matri- 
mony were all proposed, but Fox never learned to smoke, his heart 
was too heavy to allow him to join in songs, and as to marriage 
" I told them I was but a lad, and must get wisdom." " Others " 
(thinking, perhaps, that a drastic change of thought and occupation 
was necessary) " would have had me into the auxiliary band among 

* Fox, Journal, 8th edition, i. n, 12. 
Ibid., pp. 36, 37. 
3 Ibid., p. 36 


the soldiery, but I refused ; and I was grieved that they proffered 
such things to me being a tender youth." 1 

" Tender," in Fox's vocabulary, means " responsive to spiritual 
influence," and it may seem natural that his soul should shrink 
from the confusion and bitterness which prevailed at the outbreak 
of the Civil War. Yet, perhaps, of all wars that between King 
and Parliament was the one into which many of the combatants 
on either side flung themselves with the most selfless devotion to 
political and religious ideals, and to which they were most fervently 
urged by their ecclesiastical guides. " I have eaten the King's 
bread," said Sir Harry Verney to Hyde, " near thirty years and I 
will not do so base a thing as to forsake him. I choose rather to 
lose my life." But (he added), " I have no reverence for the bishops 
for whom this quarrel subsists." Bellum episcopate, the war was 
called in bitterness, but presbyter as well as priest drove men to 
the battle. " Curse ye Meroz " (the Puritan ministers cried from 
their pulpits) " because they went not forth to help the Lord against 
the mighty " ; and as young William Dewsbury heard them, he 
too was willing to fling away his life on behalf of another King 
than Charles Stuart. 2 " We are both on the stage," wrote a 
Parliamentary leader to his Royalist friend, " and we must act the 
parts assigned us in this tragedy. Let us do it in a way of honour, 
and without personal animosities." 3 In England at least the 
contest was singularly free from the cruelty and rapine which are 
usually inseparable from war, and which marked with indelible 
stains the struggles of the time between rival religious systems on 
the Continent. 4 None the less, Fox saw too clearly the essential 
nature of war to condone it even under such conditions. But it 
was not until the strife had dragged on for nine years and had led 
to the fateful scene at Whitehall and to the horrors of Drogheda 
and Wexford that he made his first recorded pronouncement on the 
relations of Christianity and war. 

1 Fox, Journal, 8th edition, i. 5, 6. As to tobacco, there is a curious 
story printed first in Camb. Journal, i. 44, how Fox, in 1652, put a proffered 
pipe for a moment to his mouth, to prove that he was no false ascetic, but had 
unity with the creation. 

1 Dewsbury, Works, pp. 45 foil. 

3 Sir William Waller to Sir Ralph Hopton. 

4 The chief exceptions are to be found in the doings of Rupert's troops at 
Bristol and Birmingham, and, on the Parliamentary side, in Fairfax's treatment of 
the Colchester garrison. In Ireland, unhappily, the war was fought on a different 


In the autumn of 1650, three years after he began to preach 
his new revelation, the Derby justices had imprisoned him for six 
months as a blasphemer. During his term of imprisonment his 
patience and integrity won him many friends. In this same autumn 
and winter Charles Stuart the younger was rallying his forces for a 
last venture, and Cromwell's Commissioners were filling up the 
gaps in the Parliamentary Army by raising local militia under the 
provisions of the Militia Act passed in July 1650. It is evident 
from Fox's experience that the Commissioners took a large view 
of their powers. Thus he tells the story : " So Worcester fight 
came on, and my time being out of being committed six months to 
the house of correction : and then they filled the house of correc- 
tion with persons they had taken up to be soldiers ; and then they 
would have had me to be captain of them to go forth to Worcester 
fight and the soldiers cried they would have none but me. So the 
keeper of the house of correction was commanded to bring me up 
before the Commissioners and soldiers in the market-place : and 
there they proffered me that preferment because of my virtue (as 
they said) with many other compliments : and asked me if I would 
not take up arms for the Commonwealth against the King ? But 
I told them I lived in the virtue of that life and power that took 
away the occasion of all wars : and I knew from whence all wars 
did rise, from the lust, according to James his doctrine. And still 
they courted me to accept of their offer, and thought I did but com- 
pliment with them, but I told them I was come into the covenant 
of peace, which was before wars and strifes was ; and they said 
they offered it in love and kindness to me, because of my virtue, 
and suchlike : and I told them if that were their love and kindness 
I trampled it under my feet. 

" Then said they, Take him away, gaoler, and cast him into 
the dungeon among the rogues and felons : which they then did 
put me into the dungeon among thirty felons in a lousy stinking 
place without any bed : where they kept me almost a half year, 
unless it were at times : and sometimes they would let me walk 
in the garden, for they had a belief of me that I would not go 
away." l 

1 Camb. Journal, i. n, 12. A remarkable fact in this episode is the 
offer of a command to an untrained man. Fox says more than once on other 
occasions : " The postures of war I never learned." Apparently, the first offer 
was some time before the battle, and the Commissioners may have had plans for 
training their pressed men. 


A few weeks later the attempt was renewed, but neither dungeon 
nor felons had shaken Fox. " Now the time of Worcester fight 
coming on, Justice Bennet sent the constables to press me for a 
soldier, seeing I would not voluntarily accept of a command. I 
told them that I was brought off from outward wars. They came 
down again to give me press-money, but I would take none. Then 
I was brought up to Sergeant Holes, kept there a while and then 
taken down again. After a while the constables fetched me up 
again, and brought me before the Commissioners, who said I should 
go for a soldier ; but I told them that I was dead to it. They said, 
I was alive. I told them, where envy and hatred are, there is 
confusion. They offered me money twice, but I would not take 
it. Then they were angry, and committed me close prisoner, 
without bail or mainprize." x 

Throughout his life Fox's physical strength and moral influence 
were recognized, and early in this imprisonment he had shown his 
power to control his unruly gaol-fellows. Moreover, the magis- 
trates, he tells us, were " uneasy " about him and wished to get 
rid of him. It was not surprising, therefore, that the new militia 
levies seemed to offer a way of escape, and that neither magistrates 
nor Commissioners could understand the ground of the strange 
Quaker's refusal to serve. As little could they understand the 
spirit of the letter that he addressed to the magistrates, from his 
close confinement. " You profess to be Christians, and one of 
you 3 a minister of Jesus Christ ; yet you have imprisoned me, who 
am a servant of Jesus Christ. The Apostles never imprisoned any, 
but were imprisoned themselves. Take heed of speaking of Christ 
in words, and denying him in life and power. O friends, the 
imprisoning of my body is to satisfy your wills, but take heed of 
giving way to your wills, for that will hurt you." 3 

This first Quaker testimony against war struck the keynote 
for the future. Fox did not linger over the circumstances of the 
particular war, nor the interpretation of a particular text, but he 
relied on the contradiction between the spirit of war and the spirit 
of Christ. Fighting, like persecution, was the negation of Chris- 
tianity "denying Christ in life and power." Like the Apostle 
John, Fox could not reconcile hatred of the brother on earth with 

1 Fox, Journal, 8th edition, i, 72, 73. This second attempt is not given 
in the MS. from which the Camb. Journal is printed. 
Colonel Barton. 3 Journal, i. 73. 


love of the Father in heaven. There was also another marked 
resemblance between the attitude of Fox and that of his later 
followers. He obviously carried on no peace propaganda among 
the other conscripts and made no attempt to impose his own con- 
victions upon them. The essence of early Quakerism lay in freedom 
to follow the inward guide, who would in due season lead the 
pilgrim into all truth : there was no desire on the part of the human 
teacher to force his hearers to travel at his own pace or to tread 
precisely in his footprints. Thus the Quaker " position " on war, 
as will be seen, came to be adopted at different times as an individual 
conviction by the first members of the Society. 

Fox was released from Derby gaol in the early winter of 1651. 
The next eight years were for him and other Friends times of 
apostolic journeyings throughout Great Britain, punctuated by 
long and painful imprisonments for blasphemy and heresy, for 
disturbance of the peace, and for sedition. 1 During these years the 
teaching spread far and wide, and the number of Friends increased 
with such rapidity that after the Restoration thousands were cast 
into gaol on an unjust suspicion of complicity in the Fifth Monarchy 
rising. Amongst the converts were many soldiers of all ranks, 
chiefly drawn from the Baptist and Independent members of the 
Parliamentary Army, although a few Royalist conversions are also 
recorded. From the scattered ailusions in contemporary Quaker 
writings a list can be made of more than ninety soldiers or ex-soldiers 
who became Friends, and no doubt there were many others of whom 
no records remain. 2 These ninety include some of the leaders 
of the Society, James Naylor, Richard Hubberthorn, William 
Dewsbury and others, fellow-preachers and fellow-labourers with 
Fox. Quakerism at this early stage laid down no laws or regula- 

1 Among the S<warthmore MSS. (i. 40) (in D) there is a copy of a Justice's 
warrant against Thomas Rawlinson, a Friend, in 1656, which opens thus : " To all 
mayors, bailiffs, sheriffs, constables, tithing-men and all other officers whom these 
may concern ; Whereas there was an order issued from this bench for the apprehend- 
ing of all Rogues and Vagabonds and in particular for the apprehending of all those 
who pass up and down the country under the name of Quakers as disturbers of 
the peace of the present Government and as underminers of the fundamentals of 
religion. . . ." The copyist comments : " This Thomas Rawlinson was going 
to visit the prisoners at Launceston in Cornwall, and they took him up by the 
watch and the constable took twenty shillings from him in the night, that he was 
carrying to the prisoners, and this was the wickedness of the Presbyterians in 
Oliver's days." 

1 Appendix 'A, List of soldiers and ex-soldiers who became Friends. 


tions for its members, but it is abundantly clear that it soon proved 
impossible for a Quaker to remain a soldier. 1 

William Dewsbury's experience presents some features of 
peculiar interest, since his spiritual development ran parallel to that 
of Fox, yet on entirely independent lines. He, too, in his perplexed 
search for truth, turned for help to ministers and preachers, " who 
only added to my sorrow, telling me to believe in Christ, I knew 
not where he was." Their exhortations drove him into the Par- 
liamentary army, where he joined with a remnant that claimed 
to fight for the Gospel, but found among them as much ignorance 
of the Gospel as in those he had left. Gradually his mind was 
turned from painful seekings after outward observances to the 
Light Within. " And the word of the Lord came unto me and 
said, Put up thy sword into thy scabbard, if my kingdom were of 
this world when would my children fight. Knowest thou not that, 
if I need, I could have twelve legions of angels from my Father ? 
Which word enlightened my heart, and discovered the mystery of 
iniquity, and that the kingdom of Christ was within ; and the 
enemies was within, and was spiritual, and my weapons against 
them must be spiritual, the power of God. Then I could no longer 
fight with a carnal weapon, against a carnal man, for the letter, 
which man in his carnal wisdom had called the Gospel, and 
had deceived me ; but then the Lord . ; . caused me to yield in 
obedience, to put up my carnal sword into the scabbard and to leave the 
Army." * 

This experience came to Dewsbury in 1645, some years before 
his first meeting with Fox, but he gladly accepted the Quaker 
message in 1651, at the same time as James Naylor, formerly 
quarter-master under General Lambert. Some soldier-converts 
were soon brought to a position in which they could no longer 
fight ; and others found that for other reasons life in the army 
became impossible for them. The story of the unnamed soldier 
who visited Fox in Derby gaol in 1 650-1, throws some light on 
the difficulties both of Quaker soldiers and non-Quaker officers. 
He was " convinced " by Fox, and began to preach in his regiment. 
Unluckily his Colonel (Barton) was also a preacher (probably an 
Independent) and one of the justices who had committed Fox to 
his prison. Thus, when the new convert declared that his officers, 

1 W. C. Braithwaite, Beginnings of Quakerism, p. 519. 
* Dewsbury, Works, pp. 45-55. 


through their treatment of Fox, were " as blind as Nebuchadnezzar," 
they were not unnaturally annoyed. Hence, when before the 
battle of Worcester two Royalists came out from the King's camp 
with a challenge to any two Parliamentarians, the Quaker was one 
chosen to meet them. His companion was killed, but he drove 
the Royalists back without firing a shot, as he told Fox. But when 
the battle was over, " he laid down his arms and saw to the end of 
fighting " another instance of individual conviction. 1 Freedom 
of preaching in all ranks was a question upon which Cromwell 
and his officers differed, 3 but even making allowance for the laxer 
discipline of the day, it was natural that officers should have 
disliked privates with a turn for drawing unflattering Scripture 

In 1654, when Cromwell assumed the Protectorate, the oath 
of allegiance was tendered to all soldiers and others employed under 
Government. This, or rather their own principle against all 
swearing, cut short the military career of several Quakers, including 
John Stubbs, who had been convinced when Fox was a prisoner at 
Carlisle in 1653.3 Fox relates how some soldiers, who had inclined 
towards Quakerism, nevertheless took the oath, and how shortly 
afterwards on a march into Scotland they were fired at by a garrison 
in mistake for the enemy, and several lost their lives, " which was 
a sad judgment." 4 This period was one of great testing for soldier- 
Friends ; probably it was only the cessation of campaigning after 
the battle of Worcester that permitted them to remain even as long 
as some did in the Army. From his gaol at Northampton in October 
1655 William Dewsbury wrote to Margaret Fell of Swarthmore, 
the protectress of all Friends in distress, telling her how their friend 
Captain Bradford had quartered his regiment in the town on its 
march to London, but when he visited Dewsbury and the other 

1 Camb. Journal, i. 13. * Carlyle, Cromwell, Letter clxii. 

3 A characteristic story of another Carlisle soldier of this period is told by 
John Whiting in Persecution Exposed, 171 5, p. 120. William Gibson with some 
other soldiers from the garrison intended to amuse themselves by breaking up a 
Quaker meeting. The preaching of Thomas Holmes, however, had such an 
effect on Gibson " that he stept into them meeting near Thomas, to defend him, 
and bid any that durst offer to abuse him." He soon joined Friends, left the 
garrison and became a shoemaker. After three years of " waiting upon God 
in silence " in this peaceful occupation, he proved an effective and powerful preacher, 
defending Quakerism by his life and words, and no longer by the strength of his 

4 Camb. Journal, i. 142 


prisoners the gaoler churlishly refused to admit him, asking him 
whether he had a command in the Army. " He answered him : 
Whether I have it matters not in this thing, for this I declare to 
thee, what command soever I have in the Army my sword shall 
not open the gaol doors, and if thou do not open them I shall not 
come in. And in meekness and patience he stood until the Lord 
commanded the gaoler's spirit, that he let him come in." For 
the remainder of the regiment's stay the prison was frequented by 
officers and soldiers who joined in the Friends' meetings. 1 

The Society was already feeling anxiety for the welfare of its 
members. In 1656 Fox wrote to Friends exhorting them to help 
and support any soldiers that might be turned out of the Army " for 
truth's sake." 2 The advice was repeated three years later by a 
meeting at Horsham of Friends Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hamp- 
shire. In 1656 also one of the earliest " General " or " Yearly" 
Meetings to settle the affairs of the Society was held at Balby in 
Yorkshire. Its Epistle, signed by William Dewsbury and others, 
and sent out to be read in Friends' meetings, bears witness to the 
growing care for a consistent behaviour among Friends. Three of 
its recommendations seem to glance at the Army difficulties. They 
run as follows : 

" 1 3th. That care be taken as any one is called before outward 
powers of the nation, that in the light obedience to the Lord be 

" 14th. That if any be called to serve the Commonwealth in 
any public service, which is for the public wealth and good, that 
with cheerfulness it be undertaken, and in faithfulness discharged 
with God, that therein patterns and examples in the thing that is 
righteous ye may be to those that are without. 

" 15th. That all Friends who have calling and trade do labour 
in the thing that is good in faithfulness and uprightness, and keep 
to the yea and nay in all their communications ; and that all who 
are indebted to the world do endeavour to discharge the same, that 
nothing they may owe to any man but love one another." 3 

The outward powers of the nation were in no mood to deal 
tenderly with scruples of conscience. Fox noted in his Journal 

1 Swarthmore MSS., iv. 141. 

Fox, Epistles, 1698, p. 94. Letters of Early Friends, p. 284. 

J Beginnings of Quakerism, pp. 411-14. 


for 1 656 that " O. P [Oliver, Protector] began to harden," I and 
that several Quakers lost their commissions in the Army. The 
next year there was a drastic purge, particularly among the forces 
in Scotland and Ireland, where Quakerism had begun to make 
its way. It found little welcome from the authorities. The Quaker 
neglect of rank and title was held to be subversive of military dis- 
cipline, and the refusal to take the oath of allegiance was suspected 
as the cloak of designs to restore Charles Stuart or to set up the 
kingdom of the Saints. Monk in Scotland and Henry Cromwell 
in Ireland, both in person and through their subordinates, cleared 
the regiments of Friends. Monk assured the Protector (perhaps 
not yet completely " hardened " and mistrustful of such stern 
measures) that the Quakers " will prove a very dangerous people 
should they increase in your Army, and be neither fit to command 
nor to obey, but ready to make a distraction in the Army and a mutiny 
upon every slight occasion." 2 Colonel Daniel at Perth reported 
in a similar strain the sad case of his Captain-Lieutenant Davenport. 
" My Captain-Lieutenant is much confirmed in his principle of 
quaking, making all the soldiers his equal (according to the Levellers' 
strain) that I daresay in a short time his principles in the Army shall 
be the root of disobedience. My Lord, the whole world is governed 
by superiority and distance in relations, and when that is taken 
away, unavoidably anarchy is ushered in. The man is grown so 
besotted with his notions, that one may as well speak to stone walls 
as to him ; and I speak it from my heart, his present condition is 
the occasion of great trouble to me. He hath been under my 
command almost fourteen years, and hitherto hath demeaned himself 
in good order, and many of these whimsies I have kept him from, 
but now there is no speaking to him. . . There was one example 
last day when he came to St. Johnston [Perth] ; he came in a more 
than ordinary manner to the soldiers of my company, and asking 
them how they did, and the men doing their duty by holding off 
their hats, he bade them put them on, he expected no such thing 
from them. My Lord, this may seem to be a small thing, but 
there lies more in the bosom of it than every one thinks, and though 
it's good to be humble, yet humility would be known by the demon- 
stration thereof, and where all are equals I expect little obedience 
in government." 3 

1 Camb. Journal, i. 263. 2 Thurloe, State Papers, vi. 136. 

3 Ibid., vi. 167. 



Davenport was cashiered by Monk, towards whom he displayed 
the same principle of equality, refusing " hat-honour " and using 
the familiar "thou." With him in 1657 several other officers 
and many soldiers left the Army. 1 Among the Swarthmore Manu- 
scripts at Devonshire House is the copy of a document signed by 
some of these ejected soldiers, disclaiming the derisive name of 
Quaker, while admitting " quaking and trembling " which testified 
to the power of God. 3 There are not many traces of distinctly 
anti-war testimony, although at Aberdeen one Cornet Ward, who 
was inclining towards Quakerism, declared that, if he were con- 
vinced, " he purposed not to make use of any carnal sword, but was 
resolved for that thing to lay down his tabernacle of clay." " I 
fear," wrote Major Richardson, " that these people's principles will 
not allow them to fight if we stand in need, though it does to receive 
pay." 3 

Besse, writing with special reference to Ireland, gives a fair 
summary of the general position. There were many in the Army, 
he says, " who came to be convinced of the truth gradually, and 
began publicly to declare against the vices and immoralities of 
others, and were sensible of the corruptions of the teachers in those 
times, and bore their testimony against them. This their zeal 
for virtue and true religion often exposed them to the resentment 
of their officers and others, who hated reproof, so that some of these 
faithful monitors were imprisoned, others cashiered and turned 
out of the Army. And divers of them, as they became further 
enlightened refused to bear arms any longer, and became able ministers 
of the truth, and publishers of the gospel." 4 Given a strict dis- 
ciplinarian in command and a zealous Quaker in the ranks, an 
explosion was bound to result sooner or later from their contact, 
and it is strange that many of the converts did not realize earlier 
the difficulties of their position. Some always cherished a certain 
pride in their past service and a friendly feeling for their old com- 

1 Camb. Journal, i. 308. 

* Swarthmore MSS., iv. 237, see Appendix B. Testimony of the 

3 Thurloe, State Papers, vi. 145, 146. William Caton wrote to Fox in 1659 
after a visit to Scotland, " that few soldiers at that time came to meetings, excepting 
some few officers who did decline from Monk, and for the most part . . . were 
loving to Friends ; for many there was that threw in their commissions while I 
was there and several were displaced, and great overturnings there was among 
them" {Swarthmore MSS., iv. 268). 

4 Besse, Sufferings of the Quakers, edition 1753, vol. ii. Ireland, 1656. 


rades. 1 In the troubled days between the death of Cromwell and 
the Restoration, many Quakers, some of them ex-soldiers, addressed 
pamphlets of earnest exhortation to the Army, and one or two drew 
a connection between their own expulsion and the present difficulties 
of Presbyterians and Independents. 

In the Navy, at a time when Blake was gaining fresh renown 
for England on the seas, difficulties of conscience were more urgent. 
The press-gang was busy, sweeping men on board the ships-of-war. 
On February 25, 1655/6, Captain Willoughby wrote to the 
Admiralty Commissioners from Portsmouth, complaining of the poor 
quality of recruits, men of all trades but seamen, which tends to 
nothing but to multiply expense. The pressed men are " the 
gatherings of the south part of Sussex, sent by four justices of the 
peace." The collection is reminiscent of FalstafF's ragged regiment, 
"a tinker, quaker, two glass-carriers, hatter, chairmaker, and a 
tanner with his boy, seven years old, and so the Mayor of South- 
ampton supplies at all times." 3 Whether this pressed Quaker spread 
his principles in the Navy or not, they had certainly made headway 
there some months later. Captain Foster of the Mermaid, in 
October 1656, forwarded to the Commissioners the resignation of 
his master-gunner. " He have not acted these two months but 
have altogether confined himself to his cabin, and have given out 
to our master-carpenter that no power shall command him to fire 
a gun as that from thence blood might be spilt, his tenets obliging 
him thereunto : the which myself with others do find to come 
nearest to those which are called Quakers, for his carriage towards 
me and others is without any outward respect, and from a spirit 
of delusion, as to the denying of ordinances and visible authority." 
The worthy captain, like Colonel Daniel in Scotland, evidently 
wished to be rid of a perplexing subordinate, for he added : " I 
earnestly desire that he may have his will as that I may discharge 
him with all speed." 3 The infection spread, however, for in April 
1657 Captain Marryot reported to the Commissioners that Thomas 
Shewell, late boatswain of the Discovery and an Admiralty agent 
at Bristol, had turned Quaker and refused to swear in a case where 
his witness was required. 4 

1 Joseph Fuce in A Visitation by Way of Declaration, 1659 (D. Tracts 95, 37), 
says : " I was for many years a private soldier, corporal, and serjeant in the times 
of the late wars." 

1 Cal. State Papers, Dom., 1655-6, p. 489. 

3 Extracts from State Papers relating to Friends, p. 14. 

Ibid., p. 27. 


In the same month another gunner, from scruples of conscience, 
wished to be released from his employ. It is not certain that Richard 
Knowlman, of the Assistance frigate lying in the Downs, was a 
Quaker, but his letter makes it probable. He addressed one of the 
Commissioners (whose name is lost) because he was reputed to be 
more favourable to tender consciences than his colleagues and would 
not be offended by the omission of flattering titles. Knowlman's 
plea has a rough eloquence of its own. " Friend, I have served 
this Commonwealth by land and sea very faithfully, to the loss of 
my limbs, ever since the year 'forty-one, and am willing to continue 
in this Commonwealth's service so far forth as I may be profitable 
unto it upon some other account than I am at present, not that 
I desire to be in a higher place. ... I shall desire thee as soon 
as it may be that thou wilt think of some other employment for 
me : for I am not very free to continue much longer in this : for 
I desire but a livelihood for I and my wife and children, though 
it be but a mean one. So the Lord Almighty be thy director and 
preserver and that thou mayest once come to feed of the true bread 
of life which will be a continual satisfaction unto thee when all 
the pomp and glory of the world will pass away." x It is tempting 
to believe that Knowlman had read the Epistle from the General 
Meeting at Balby, already quoted, but there is no direct evidence 
that he was a Quaker, nor does any record survive to show whether 
the busy Commissioner found time to provide him with a new and 
more innocent post. The next year, in a record of Friends' suffer- 
ings presented to Cromwell, two Friends in prison at Winchester, 
Daniel Baker and Anthony Milledge, are each described as lately 
a captain of a ship-of-war for the State. 2 Daniel Baker became 
the owner of a merchant vessel and a leading Friend. 

But the instance of Friends' peace principles in the Common- 
wealth Navy of which the fullest and most interesting record sur- 
vives is that of Thomas Lurting. This Friend, in his old age, 
published his experiences under the title The Fighting Sailor turned 
Peaceable Christian^ with the express object of commending to 
others the silent waiting upon God which had been his own guide 
through life. " For as silence is the first word of command in 

1 Extracts, p. 27. 

J Ibid., pp. 45 foil. 

3 The Fighting Sailor turned Peaceable Christian : Manifested in the Convince- 
ment and Conversion of Thomas Lurting, with a Short Relation of many Great Dangers 
and Wonderful Deliverances he met loithal. 17 10. 


martial discipline, so it is in the spiritual ; for until that is come 
unto, the will and mind of God concerning us cannot be known, 
much less done." 

Born in 1632, at fourteen years of age he was pressed into the 
wars in Ireland, then fought by sea against Dutch and Spaniards, 
and by 1657 was boatswain's mate upon the Bristol frigate. There 
he had the oversight of the crew of two hundred men ; one of his 
duties was to see that they were present at the ship's worship and 
to compel the unwilling to attend. A few who met in Quaker 
fashion for silent worship he beat and maltreated for their obstinacy. 
At Blake's attack on Santa Cruz, Lurting played a gallant part, 
and his vivid narrative is used by historians as a " source " for that 
battle. His mind, naturally religious, was affected further by 
several hairbreadth escapes from death, and, as he grew dissatisfied 
with the official worship of the ship, he prayed earnestly for guidance. 
But the first thought that truth might be found among the despised 
Quakers startled him. " For the reasoning part got up. What, 
to such a people, that both priests and professors are against ? What, 
to such a people that I have been so long beating and abusing, and 
that without just cause ? Death would be more welcome." The 
very form of the protest showed that the battle was half won, and 
he soon reached the position that " whether Quaker or no Quaker, 
peace with God I am for." He confided in one of the Friends, 
who received him lovingly, but his first attendance at their little 
meeting caused a great stir on board, calling forth remonstrances 
from both chaplain and captain. The former said : " Thomas, 
I took you for a very honest man and a good Christian, but am 
sorry you should be so deluded," while the captain stood by, " turning 
the Bible from one end to another, to prove the Quakers no 

Their conduct, however, during a severe epidemic on the ship, 
changed the captain's opinion, and he soon placed great confidence 
in them. 1 "When there was any fighting in hand he would say, 
' Thomas, take thy friends, and do such and such a thing.' They 
proved indeed the hardiest men on the ship, but refused to take 
any plunder. Being come to Leghorn, they were ordered to 
Barcelona to take a Spanish man-of-war. Lurting's ship opened 
fire on the castle, and Lurting occupied himself with one corner 

1 This quotation is borrowed from the summary of Lurting's story in W. C. 
Braith wake's Beginnings of Quakerism, pp. 521-2. 


of the place, the guns of which had found the range of the ship. 

He was on the forecastle, watching the effect of his shot, when it 

suddenly flashed through him : ' What if thou killest a man ? ' 

Putting on his clothes, for he had been half-stripped, he walked 

on the deck as if he had not seen a gun fired, and when asked if 

he was wounded, said : ' No, but under some scruple of conscience 

on the account of fighting,' though at that time he did not know 

that Quakers refused to fight. That night he opened out his new 

convictions to his friends, who said little, except that, if the Lord 

sent them well home, they would never go to it again. Soon after 

one of them went to the captain and asked to be discharged, as he 

could fight no longer. The captain, a Baptist preacher, said he 

should put his sword through any man who declined fighting in 

an engagement, and after further words beat the man with his fist 

and cane. The time of trial came a little later, when the ship was 

cruising off Leghorn, and had cleared for action with a vessel bearing 

down on them, supposed to be a Spanish man-of-war. Lurting 

and his friends drew together on deck and refused to go to their 

quarters. The lieutenant went to the captain and reported : 

' Yonder the Quakers are all together, and I do not know but they 

will mutiny, and one says he cannot fight.' The captain, in a fury, 

dragged Lurting down to his quarters and drew his sword on him. 

Then the word of the Lord ran through Lurting : ' The sword of 

the Lord is over him, and if he will have a sacrifice, proffer it him.' 

Thereupon he stepped towards the captain, fixing his eye with 

great seriousness on him, at which the captain changed countenance, 

turned himself about, called to his man to take away his sword, and 

went off. The ship they expected to fight proved to be a friendly 

Genoese, and before night the captain sent a message excusing his 

anger." When Lurting returned to England, he entered the 

merchant service, but, as will appear, his peaceable principles were 

several times put to a severe proof. 

Nor was it only in the Army and Navy that the peace testimony 
of Friends led them into conflict with authority. The Militia 
Acts of Cromwell and his Parliaments proved a heavy burden. In 
1649 and 1650 Parliament had re-established the county militia, 
and it was under the latter Act that George Fox suffered at Derby. 
In 1655 Cromwell appointed new Militia Commissioners for the 
English and Welsh counties, upon whom rested the duty of raising 
a force. The horses, arms, and money required were to be obtained 


from Royalist estates, and used to equip the well-affected, who 

were formed into regiments and trained. Those who refused to 

train were to be fined 20, and the obstinate imprisoned. 1 The 

policy of mulcting Royalist estates was soon abandoned, but the 

militia was maintained throughout the Protectorate, and heavy 

fines " for not sending a man to serve in the train-bands " soon 

became a common form of Quaker suffering. The earliest known 

instances are found in records for fines and distraints in kind at 

Colchester in 1 659,2 Dut lt ls almost certain that these were not 

isolated examples. After the Restoration, when Friends noted 

their sufferings with great accuracy, these fines are very frequent 

in all parts of the country. No doubt there were some backsliders 

like Thomas Ayrey, who " could suffer nothing for truth, for when 

like to suffer for keeping Christ's command in not swearing, he 

truckled under and took an oath ; when like to suffer for truth's 

testimony against fighting and bearing outward arms, he consented 

to take arms " ; 3 but the great majority stood as firm as Richard 

Robinson of Countersett, Wensleydale, who had a faithful testimony 

" against bearing arms or finding a man for the militia, for he was 

all along charged with finding a man, but always kept very clear, 

and never after his convincement would pay anything directly or 

indirectly, but suffered for the same by fines and distresses, frequently 

encouraging other Friends to stand faithful." 4 

In the troubled days of 1659, when the Commissioners were busy 

raising new troops, Justice Anthony Pearson, still nominally a 

Friend, was a Commissioner in the North, 5 and in Bristol seven 

Friends who were chosen for the office were in a strait how to act, 

desiring Fox's counsel. 6 " He told them : ' You cannot well 

leave them, seeing ye have gone among them ; so keep in that 

which presses and grinds all down to the witness, the power of God ; 

1 Gardiner, Commonwealth and Protectorate, iii. 148-9, 17 1-2. Cal. State 
Papers, Dom., 1655, Preface, p. viii. 
1 Besse, Sufferings, i. 194. 
J First Publishers of Truth, p. 266. 
* Ibid., p. 314, also p. 308. 

5 Pearson, who lived in Durham, was also a magistrate for Westmorland, 
and was convinced in 1652-3 on the bench at Appleby, at the trial of Naylor and 
Howgill. After the Restoration he returned to the Established Church, and 
died in 1665. 

6 Alexander Parker to Fox, Sivarthmore MSS., iii. 143. Parker says : " I 
have had a great weight on my spirit about it. I see very little, yet something 
there may be in it. I can neither persuade them to it, nor dissuade them from 


and therein you will have freedom and wisdom and liberty to declare 
yourselves over the contrary part that would rule.' But he warned 
Friends against running into places." z 

From Cardiff" Francis Gawler wrote to Fox, January 26, 
1659/60 : 2 "I wass disired by my brother, who is a Jestes, John 
Gawler, who hath Receued a Commission Come Dowen fVom 
ffleetwoode, to be Lefteniente Cornell to one Boushey Mancell 
of this Conty, who is to raise a Regement of Malisa foote, and if 
thow sesete aney thing in the theinge that hee should not medell with 
it ; and if thow arte free, it will be very much unto him to vnder- 
stand a word from thee. His Coronell is a louinge man to frinds, 
and is very disierus to haue frinds in his Regemente, and my brother 
is verey Redy and willing to prefer frinds to offeces verey much, 
bute frinds are not free to medell with it, only Mathew Gibon 
hath partly Ingaged to bee a Captan (and Another a privat Souldger) 
of whom we are tender, knowing hee hath noe bade ende in it, but 
thinkes he may be sarvesabell for truth in it." But this tentative 
proposal was sternly met by Fox, in whose handwriting the letter 
is endorsed, " which g f forbad and said it was Contraye to over 
prensables, for ovr wepenes are spiritall and not Carnall." 

In 1664 a paper was drawn up on behalf of Fox and other 
Friends imprisoned in Lancaster Gaol, which states that the Com- 
mittee of Safety in 1659 offered him the post of Colonel, " but he 
denied them all and bade them live peaceable." This paper also 
describes three of the imprisoned Friends, Thomas Waters, William 
Wilson, and James Brown, as faithful Royalists, who had suffered 
for the King in battles, wounds, prisons, and sequestrations, and 
" never had a penny of pay to this day." 3 Another Royalist Quaker 
appears in Sewel's pages, where it is told how, in later years, 
Christopher Bacon of Somerset was taken from a meeting at 
Glastonbury and brought before the Bishop of Wells, who called 
him a rebel for meeting contrary to the King's law. Christopher 
retorted : " Dost thou call me rebel ? I would have thee know that 
I have ventured my life for the King in the field when such as thou 

1 W. C. Braithwaite, Second Period of Quakerism, p. 18, quoting from 
S<warthmore MSS., vii. 157. This letter confirms the fact that some London Friends 
were serving, " for they were, when I was out of town, put in commission." Fox 
adds : " There is little but filth and much dirt and dross to be expected among 

1 Swarthmore MSS., iv. 219. The document is given in its original spelling 
as a very perfect example of the phonetics of the time. 

3 Camb. Journal, ii. 48-52. 


lay behind hedges." By this (says Sewel) he stopped the Bishop's 
mouth, who did not expect such an answer, and soon dismissed 
him. 1 

Not all the precautions and warnings of Fox and others, however, 
could save Friends from falling under the suspicions of the shifting 
Governments of that strange year 1659, ar >d it was the general 
misunderstanding of the Quaker position which led Friends to 
publish more clear and comprehensive statements of their peace 
principles. Before considering these, a short account must be given 
of the general attitude of Fox and his adherents to the Common- 
wealth Government. 

The overthrow of parliamentary government by Cromwell in 
1653 gave a fresh impetus to conspiracies, both Cavalier and 
Republican, against his power. He lived for nearly six years longer, 
and died at last in his bed ; but throughout those years plots were 
unceasing, and his life was in constant danger. As is usual in times 
of unrest and treachery, all assemblies, whether religious or secular, 
whether for business or pleasure, were regarded by the Govern- 
ment with suspicion, and often prohibited beforehand or dispersed 
by bands of soldiers. Quaker meetings (which, indeed, were at 
times frequented by wild spirits, Levellers, Ranters or Fifth Monarchy 
men) were not exempt ; Fox was arrested at Whetstone in Leicester- 
shire and carried to London, where he was told that Cromwell 
would be satisfied by a signed promise " that he would not take 
up a sword against the Lord Protector, or the Government as it 
is now." 2 In response Fox drew up a document,3 the theological 
implications of which were sharply canvassed and criticized in later 
times. From Cromwell's point of view the essential passage was 
that in which Fox proclaimed his mission " to stand a witness against 
all violence and against all the works of darkness, and to turn people 
from the darkness to the light and from the occasion of the magis- 
trate's sword. . . . With the carnal weapon I do not fight, but 
am from those things dead." He subscribed his name as one " who 
to all your souls is a friend . . . and a witness against all wicked 
inventions of men and murderous plots." Another document filled 
with fervent spiritual exhortation was also conveyed to the Pro- 
tector, whose interest was sufficiently aroused to make him wish 
for an interview with the new teacher. 4 Fox was summoned to 

1 Sewel, History, p. 682. 2 Camb. Journal, i. 161. 3 Appendix C. 
4 For the letter and interview, 'vide Camb. Journal, i. 16 1-5, 167-8. 


Whitehall before the time of the morning levee, and set forth at 
length his belief in a free ministry inspired by the Spirit of Christ. 
Cromwell listened patiently, at times interjecting that " it was 
very good " or " truth," but at last the room became crowded and 
Fox took his leave. As he was turning away, Cromwell caught 
him by the hand and said, with tears in his eyes : " Come again to 
my house, for if thou and I were but an hour a day together, we 
should be nearer one to the other. I wish thee no more ill than I 
do to my own soul." Fox characteristically replied by a warning to 
listen to the voice of God and to beware of hardness of heart. After 
he had withdrawn he received the Protector's message that he was 
free and might go where he would. There were Friends and 
sympathisers with Friends in Cromwell's own household, and the 
Protector on several occasions intervened to check the zeal of local 
authorities. 1 Even in 1658, when many Friends were in prison 
on various counts, Oliver and his Council sent down advice to 
local magistrates, " in dealing with persons whose miscarriages 
arises rather from defects in their understanding than from malice 
in their wills, to exercise too much lenity than too much severity." 2 
In this first peace document, as definitely as in his speeches at 
Derby, Fox stated his abhorrence of all war and of the employment 
of force and violence for political and religious ends, but he now 
made the further claim that part of his mission was to bring others 
to the same peaceable state. He recognized, though within strict 
limits, the power of the " magistrate's sword " (that is, the civil 
authority) in preserving order within the State ; but that sword, 
too, was to pass away with the occasion for it, as all men were 
turned from evil to follow the inward light. It must be remem- 
bered that the line of demarcation between the civil and the military 
power was blurred almost out of recognition in the days of the 
Protectorate. Soldiers were often put upon police duty, and it was 
in that capacity that they were ordered to disperse Friends' meetings 
and to arrest Fox and others. In this paper Fox repeats to " soldiers 
that are put in that place " (of maintaining civil order) the advice 
of John the Baptist 3 given to the Roman soldiers, who themselves 
were first and foremost policemen, upholding the law and govern- 
ment of Rome in Palestine. The text has been described as " the 

1 He protested in vain against the barbarous punishment inflicted by Parliament 
on James Naylor in 1657. 

Extracts, p. 34. ' Luke iv. 14. 


epitome of the good policeman's character." x In the following 
year, 1655, when Friends were beginning to suffer on account 
of the oath of allegiance, Fox wrote again to the Protector, re- 
emphasizing the argument that a magistrate's duty was not to coerce 
men's consciences, but to put down open and notorious evil. 3 

A declaration against the use of weapons was apparently made 
a test against other suspects. John Lilburne, doughty champion 
of political equality and sufferer for his beliefs, had been lying in 
gaol first in the Channel Islands and later in Dover Castle. Here 
he came into contact with Friends, and his restless, quarrelsome 
spirit found help in their peaceable teaching. 3 Cromwell, who 
always treated him with some respect, heard of his new leanings, 
and offered to release him if he would sign a promise never to draw 
a sword against the existing Government. At first Lilburne, 
although he knew of Fox's declaration, refused, " because he did 
not perfectly approve that point of self-denial." In time his insight 
grew clearer, and he published, in May 1655, a paper declaring 
his adherence to " the savouriest of people called Quakers," and 
that " I am already dead, or crucified, to the very occasions and 
real grounds of outward wars and carnal sword-fightings and fleshly 
bustlings and contests ; and that therefore confidently I now believe, 
I shall never hereafter be a user of a temporal sword more, nor a 
joiner with them that do so." But the old Lilburne was not, in 
truth, quite dead, for he was careful to explain that this declaration 
was not intended to satisfy " the fleshly wills of my great adver- 
saries " nor his " poor, weak, afflicted wife," but to deprive the said 
adversaries of any excuse for continuing his imprisonment. Probably 
he was somewhat surprised and disappointed when Cromwell 
accepted the declaration and set him free. He remained faithful 
to Friends' principles, and on his death in 1657 ne was Dur i e ^ m 
Quaker simplicity. 4 

The difficulties of Friends in the last years of the Protectorate 

have already been described, but when Cromwell's death removed 

the controlling hand from the affairs of the nation their perplexities 

increased amidst the general unsettlement and confusion. Yet 

Fox and other Friends continued to journey up and down the 

1 Arbiter in Council, p. 518. 
* Camb. Journal, i. 192-4. 

s In the paper quoted he says that in Dover Castle, " I have really and 
substantially found that which my soul hath many years sought diligently after." 
4 Sewel, History, Book III. 


country, encouraging meetings already established and settling up 
new ones, and although their gatherings were often broken up by 
troops of soldiers armed with justices' warrants, Fox's Journal tells 
of " glorious, powerful, heavenly meetings." 1 Early in 1 659 
Sir George Booth stirred up a Royalist insurrection in Cheshire 
which caused general alarm. Some Quakers, or old soldiers with 
Quaker leanings, prepared to join the forces led against him by 
Lambert. The leaders of the Society were greatly troubled by 
this backsliding, and Fox, for weeks at a time, was overcome by 
deep depression seeing " how the powers was plucking each other 
in pieces." a He published several earnest exhortations to " all 
Friends everywhere " to keep out of plots and righting or any inter- 
ference in matters political The Devil, he wrote emphatically, 
is the author and cause of wars and strife : " all that pretend to 
fight for Christ are deceived ; for his kingdom is not of this world, 
therefore his servants do not fight. Fighters are not of Christ's 
kingdom, but are without Christ's kingdom. . . . All such as 
pretend Christ Jesus, and confess him, and yet run into the use of 
carnal weapons, wrestling with flesh and blood, throw away the 
spiritual weapons. . . . Live in love and peace with all men, 
keep out of all the bustlings of the world ; meddle not with 
the powers of the earth ; but mind the kingdom, the way of 
peace." 3 

It was probably the enlistment of these pseudo-Quakers that 
gave rise to the rumours which reached the Royalist Secretary 
Nicholas, in the autumn of 1659. He nac ^ heard (he wrote to 
the French Court) that the impious rebels in England were arming 
madmen, for three regiments of Quakers, Brownists and Anabaptists 
were being raised in London, under the command of Vane, Skippon, 
and " White, a famous Quaker from New England." 4 Events, 
however, moved steadily towards the restoration of the monarchy : 

1 Camb. journal, i. 340, 354. ' Ibid., 341. 

3 For these letters, <vide Camb. Journal, i. 334. Journal, 8th edition, 
i. 448-51. Fox, Epistles (1698), pp. 137, 145. 

4 Extracts, p. 116 {State Papers, Dom., J, Foreign Correspondence, Flanders, 
vol. 32). White is a name unknown in early Quaker history. The name 
" Quaker," however, as a term of reproach was applied to other sects, and the 
fighting Quakers may have been Fifth Monarchy men. This may also be the 
explanation of a letter from Desborough (April 8, 1660) directing the last attempt 
in Wales and the West at organized resistance to the Restoration. " Let the 
Quakers," he writes, " have the knottiest piece, for they are resolute in performance 
though but rash in advising" {Extracts, p. 116, State Papers, Dom., ccxx. 70). 


as Fox travelled through the country he found that " great fears 
and troubles was in many peoples and a looking for the King's 
coming in and that all things should be altered, but I told them 
the Lord's power and light was over all and shined over all." J The 
Army was in a state of grave disorder, the soldiers openly taking 
sides for King or Commonwealth, 3 and both parties found some 
relief for their feelings in disturbing Friends' meetings. Monk 
had entered London in February 1659/60, and his old friend and 
fellow-soldier, Richard Hubberthorn, appealing to him, obtained a 
brief and emphatic order, which was of some service. 

St. James, 9/i of March. 
I do require all officers and soldiers to forbear to disturb the peace- 
able meetings of the Quakers, they doing nothing prejudicial to the 
Parliament or Commonwealth of England. 

George Monk. 3 

But Monk's authority could not prevail everywhere and in many 
places the trouble continued. 4 The Commonwealth of England 
was soon to pass away ; in April the Convention Parliament met, 
the first act of which was to recall the King. In that troubled 
and excited spring Fox travelled in the West from Bristol to 
Gloucester, and thence by Tewkesbury to Worcester. " I never 
saw the like drunkenness," he noted, " as then in the towns, for they 
had been choosing Parliament-men." 5 These travelling Quaker 
missionaries roused the suspicions of the authorities at a moment 
when no man could trust his neighbour, and the new Government 
was scarcely established before Friends felt its heavy hand. At 
the end of April 1660, as William Caton and Thomas Salthouse 
journeyed from Yorkshire, they found " all was on heaps after 
the apprehending of John Lambert." The Quaker meetings they 
held brought about their arrest, with that of other Friends. They 
were treated fairly and, as they could give a satisfactory account 
of themselves, allowed to proceed on their way. Others were not 

1 Camb. Journal, i. 347. 

2 W. Caton, who travelled in Scotland in the winter of 1659, wrote to Fox that 
many officers there had thrown up their commissions, and others had been displaced, 
and " great overturnings there was among them " (Swarthmore MSS., iv. 268). At 
Gloucester, Fox found " part of the soldiers were for the King, and another part 
for the Parliament" (Camb. Journal, i. 352). 

3 Swartnmore MSS., iii. 141. Letters of Early Friends, 79. 

4 At Balby the regular troops protected the Yearly Meeting against the 
militia soldiers who wished to break it up (Camb. Journal, i. 353-4.) 

5 Camb. Journal, i. 352. 


so fortunate. A few days later Salthouse reported several arrests 
in various parts of the country. " The Cavalier Commissioners, of 
the new militia serve to apprehend Friends and deliver them to 
the cruel magistrates (so called), as men who gather tumultuous 
assemblies." l 

Fox was the chief sufferer. In May 1660 (the exact date is 
uncertain) constables entered the friendly asylum of Swarthmore 
Hall, arrested him, and carried him off to await trial at Lancaster. 2 
During the journey next day the encounter with a body of Friends 
on the high road threw his guard into a panic, and they gathered 
about him, crying out : " Would they rescue him ? Would they 
rescue him ? " Fox, to reassure them, called out, " Here is my 
hair, here is my back, here is my cheek, strike on ! " which assuaged 
their anger. At Lancaster he was brought before Justice (formerly 
Major) Porter, who inquired : " Why I came down into the country 
in that troublesome time ? I told him, to visit my brethren. And 
he said, we had great meetings up and down, and I told him we 
had so, but I said, our meetings were known throughout the nation 
to be peaceable." After some more fencing, Fox was committed 
to Lancaster Castle on the grounds (as he discovered with much 
difficulty, for a copy of the warrant was withheld from him) that 
" he was a person suspected to be a disturber of the peace of the 
nation, a common enemy to his majesty our Lord the King, a chief 
upholder of the Quakers' sect, and that he with others of his fanatic 
opinion have of late endeavoured to raise insurrections in this part 
of the country to the imbruing of the nation in blood." Apparently 
no witnesses were called in support of these charges, and as soon 
as Fox learned their terms he drew up a dignified refutation, relating 
how he had been arrested in 1654 upon a similar charge and how 
Cromwell had accepted the statement of his peaceable principles. 
He says twice with emphasis : " The postures of war I never 
learned," and retorts that the term " fanatic " is more applicable 
to the " mad, furious, foolish " spirit that relies on force and per- 

1 S<warthmore MSS., i. 320, iii. 179. In iii. 136, 146, 170, are some interesting 
letters and testimonies of Alexander Parker, who was imprisoned at this time. 
In the first, an address to the King, he says : " The peace of the King and all the 
people of England that is in Christ Jesus I am firmly bound to keep and not to 
disturb. And likewise, all the good and wholesome laws of England, which are 
grounded upon truth and equity, which are according to the laws of Christ. 
I own them and am bound to be subject to them and [not] break nor infringe 

* For the whole account of this episode, see Camb. Journal, i. 358-84. 


secution than to the Quakers. In another letter, addressed per- 
sonally to Major Porter, he reminded that gentleman of certain 
episodes in his previous career as a Parliamentarian which, in his 
new flush of loyalty to the house of Stuart, he would have preferred 
to have forgotten. 1 That magistrate was in no very happy frame 
of mind, for, hearing that Margaret Fell and other Friends had 
appealed directly to the King on Fox's behalf, he had gone to London 
himself, where he had the ill luck to find that several of those in 
close attendance on the King were men whose houses and estates 
he had plundered during the Civil War. They were not backward 
in reminding him of this, and he hastily returned home, " blank 
and down." 

The Friends working for Fox, amongst them Ann Curtis (whose 
father, Robert Yeamans, Sheriff of Bristol, had been hung as a 
Royalist in 1643), succeeded in influencing the King, and obtained 
a writ for the removal of the case to London. The Lancaster 
authorities, however, raised so many technical objections that Fox 
remained some time longer in prison. As usual, he was not idle, 
but issued many letters and papers, one to encourage Friends who 
were troubled by the change of Government, and another to the 
King, surely the strangest petition ever sent by a prisoner awaiting 
trial : * 

" Charles, thou came not into this nation by sword, and not 
by victory of war, but by the power of the Lord. Now if thou do 
not live in it, thou wilt not prosper, and if the Lord hath shewed 
thee mercy and forgiven thee and thou dost not shew mercy and 
forgive, the Lord God will not hear thy prayers nor them that 
pray for thee. And if thou do not stop persecution and persecutors, 
and take away all laws that do hold up persecution in religion, but 
if thou persist in them and uphold persecution, they will make thee 
as blind as all that have gone before thee, for persecution was ever 

The reaction from Puritan rule had already set in, and Fox 
urges the King to deal sternly with " drunkenness, oaths, pleasure, 
May-games with fiddlers, drums, trumpets, and set-up Maypoles 
with the image of a crown on top," or else " the nation will quickly 
turn to Sodom and Gomorrah." 

1 For example : " Where had that wainscot that he ceiled his house with? 
Had he it not from Hornby Castle ? " 
* Camb. Journal, i. 361. 


If Charles ever read the paper, he probably felt some idle 
admiration for one who could so plainly speak his mind. Margaret 
Fell, who studied his character to some purpose during her frequent 
audiences, wrote to Fox that the Presbyterian leaders, who still 
hoped to guide Charles' policy, were so bitter against Friends that 
she believed they over-reached themselves and unwittingly influenced 
the King towards toleration. " The man is moderate, and I do 
believe hath an intent in his mind and a desire to do for Friends, 
if he knew how and not to endanger his own safety. He is dark 
and ignorant of God, and so anything fears him, but we have gotten 
a place in his heart that he doth believe we will be true to him." I 

In October 1660 Fox was allowed by the Sheriff of Lancashire 
to travel to London with a few Friends, unguarded and carrying 
a copy of the charges against him. The trial took place before 
the Lord Chief Justice, Foster, and two other judges, and was 
fairer and more orderly than most Quaker trials of the time. When 
the charge of " imbruing the nation in blood, and raising a new 
war" was read, the judges lifted up their hands in horror or 
surprise. " Then," says Fox, " I stretched out my arms and said, 
I was the man that that charge was against, but I was as innocent 
as a child concerning the charge, and had never learnt any war- 
postures. And did they think that if I and my faculty had been 
such men as the charge declares that I would have brought it up 
with one or two of my faculty against myself ? For had I been 
such a man as this charge declares, I had need of being guarded 
with a troop or two of horse." No witnesses appeared against Fox, 
as Major Porter wisely remained in the North, and on October 25, 
1660, he was set free. 

Indeed, at first the Restoration seemed to offer hopes to the 
suffering Quakers. In the Declaration of Breda, Charles had 
promised liberty to tender consciences, and during the first months 
of his reign several hundred Friends were included in the numbers 
released from prison in accordance with the Declaration. 2 Several 
members of the Society had deserved well of the King by loyal 
service to his father or himself. 3 Richard Hubberthorn, through 

1 Camb. Journal, i. 373. 

J Others, however, were imprisoned on other counts. 

3 A Dorset Quaker, Richard Carver, in 1651 carried Charles through the 
water to the little fishing-smack in which he escaped to France. Besse quotes, 
under the year 1684, a petition from a Staffordshire Quaker, William Corbett, 
which he presented to the King in Windsor Park. He claimed a hearing on the 


his acquaintance with Monk, obtained an audience with Charles, 
who, with his usual interest in novelties, questioned him closely 
on the doctrines and practice of the sect. As he dismissed him, 
he declared, " None should molest the Quakers, on the word of 
a King, so long as they lived peaceably." The interview was 
published by Friends as a pamphlet, 1 several times reprinted in crises 
when " the word of a King " had snapped asunder like rotten wood. 
Charles was not naturally cruel, and the Quakers amused him, 
while they were hated by his own enemies, the Presbyterians. All 
this predisposed him in their favour, and on several occasions he 
showed a careless interest in the fortunes of individual Friends. 
But, as Margaret Fell had seen, he would never put himself to 
personal inconvenience or endanger his popularity in the cause of 
justice, and a few months after his accession his hand was forced by 
an outburst of fanaticism. 

The Fifth Monarchy men were political and religious extremists 
who throughout the Protectorate had reviled Cromwell and his 
friends with wild bitterness. The study of prophecy had turned 
heads never, seemingly, very steady, and they believed that the 
fourth great world monarchy was drawing to its end, to be succeeded 
by the Fifth Monarchy, the rule of Christ and the Saints. The 
Fifth Monarchists identified themselves with these elect, while 
they were more than suspected of attempts to hasten, by the murder 

I of the Protector, the coming of the expected millennium, and they 
had even attempted a rising in the spring of 1657. The Govern- 
ment they detested did in truth crumble away, but a few months' 
experience made it clear to them that the reign of the Saints was 
not to be found in the restored Court at Whitehall. On January 6, 
1660/1, their rebellion broke out in London. It was never for- 
midable, being the work of a handful of men, but it threw the Court 
and Parliament into a panic out of all proportion to the danger. 

ground of his services in the Royalist Army, " in the General Lord Capel's own 
troop, wherein I sustained these wounds, namely, I was shot in my leg at the 
siege of Wem in Shropshire, and wounded in my left arm at the garrison of the 
Lord Cholmeley's house in Cheshire, and also cut and dangerously wounded in 
my head, to the caul of my brain, with a pole-axe at a skirmish at Stourbridge 
in Worcestershire, and at the same time the thumb of my right hand was cut off." 

Since those stormy days he had been led to join the " peaceable people " called 
Quakers, and now applied to the King for relief from the heavy distraints he had 
suffered under the laws against conventicles. Charles characteristically " read 
part of it, and then delivered it to another person to read the rest for him," but 
Besse adds that apparently Corbett obtained no relief. 

1 Something that lately passed in discourse between the King and R.H. In D. 



Fox, who had remained in the south, was in London at the 
time. His Journal tells the story as it affected Friends : 

" It was said there was something drawn up that we should have 
our liberty [of worship] only it wanted signing. And on the first 
day there was glorious meetings, and the Lord's truth shined over 
all, and his power was set over all. And at midnight, soon after, 
the drums beat and they cried " Arms ! Arms ! ", for the monarchy 
people were up. And I got up out of bed and in the morning 
took boat, and came down to Whitehall stairs and went through 
Whitehall, and they looked strangely upon me. And I went to 
the Pall Mall and all the city and suburbs were up in arms, and 
exceeding rude all people were against us." * Neither mob nor 
magistrates stayed to make much distinction between Quaker and 
Fifth Monarchist. Not only were many Friends roughly handled 
in the streets, but when they met for worship the next Sunday 
wholesale arrests were made. Fox was taken on the Saturday night 
(January 12th) and searched for arms. The searcher was an old 
acquaintance, so Fox replied that he knew well enough that he 
never carried even pocket-pistols, which were the ordinary travelling 
equipment of the day. He was detained a few hours at Whitehall, 
but released at the instance of Esquire Marsh, one of the King's 
attendants, who was often of great service to Friends. 

There was a general belief that Friends were in the plot 
(although Fox says that the ringleaders at their execution denied 
that any Friends were concerned). Soon the prisons were full, 
and all Quaker meetings forbidden. None the less, they continued 
to be held as long as any Friends were left unarrested. 3 

The State Papers bear abundant testimony to the blind panic 
which prevailed. A West Riding magistrate, William Lowther, 
writes to State Secretary Nicholas on January I2th that Quakers 

1 Camb. Journal, i. 386-7. 

* A Committee of both Houses reported in December 1661, after an inquiry 
into the plot, " that at Huntingdon many met under the name of Quakers, that 
were not so, and rode there in multitudes at night, to the great terror of his Majesty's 
good subjects" (Cobbett, State Trials, vi. 114). The State Trials also quotes 
from An Historical Account of all the Trials and Attainders for High Treason, the 
assertion that the plotters intended to allow " such Quakers as agreed with them 
in their millenary notions, as nearest to their sort of enthusiasm, the honour of 
partaking with them." Few troubled to distinguish Quakers from other new 
sects. Baxter wrote : " The Quakers were but the Ranters turned from horrid 
profaneness and blasphemy to a life of extreme austerity " (Reliquia Baxteriana, 
i. 77). See the account of these imprisonments, W. C. Braithwaite, Second Period 
of Quakerism, pp. 9-14. 


have held great assemblies in his neighbourhood attended by divers 
officers of horse and foot, where strange doctrines were broached 
tending to the overthrow of the Government. In his anxiety he 
brought the matter before Wakefield Ouarter Sessions, and encloses 
their order of the previous day forbidding such gatherings. 1 Three 
days later a Wilts magistrate reports that he has arrested nearly 
thirty Quakers and other desperate fellows, former soldiers of the 
Parliament. Most of them (surely not the Quakers ?) have taken 
the oath of allegiance, but he still mistrusts them, and proposes to 
exact in addition security for their good behaviour. 2 Next week, 
in the East Riding, Sir Robert Hildyard carried on the work. " In 
searching for arms there was found at Risum [Rvsome] in Holder- 
ness, in a Quaker's house, divers papers wherein it doth appear 
that they have constant meetings and intelligence all over the 
kingdom, and contributions for to carry on their horrid designs, 
though masked under the specious pretence of religion and piety. 
I have sent you copies of two of them that you may see it is a real 
truth. They also keep registers of all the affronts and injuries 
that is done to any of them, when, where, and by whom. There- 
fore it doth appear they are an active, subtle people, and it is a great 
mercy that their designs did produce no more mischief to this 
kingdom. We shall be careful to prevent their unlawful meetings 
and to break the knot of them in this town and county." 3 

A few weeks later a careless messenger dropped a letter from 
one Quaker to another on the high road near Cockermouth. By 
ill-luck it came into the hands of two zealous local magistrates. 
In the letter John Dixon told Hugh Tickell, a Cumberland Friend, 
what collections were decided upon at the last monthly meeting, 
and begged him to send the contribution from his local meeting 
with all speed. Both men were arrested, and underwent separate 
examinations, but the most searching questions could not unearth 
a conspiracy. The magistrates, however, wrote to Under-Secretary 
Williamson at Whitehall, enclosing the ill-fated letter, with the 
suggestion that it should be shown first to the Earl of Carlisle and 
the local members of Parliament, and then to the Privy Council, 
and advice sent down how they were to act. " Admit their explana- 
tion thereof be truth, and they be as harmless and innocent people 

as they pretend to be, yet their continued meetings against the King' 

1 Extracts from State Papers, 117. 

J Ibid., 123. 3 Ibid., 127. 


Proclamation, their collections among them, and sending many of 
their faction to several parts beyond the seas and maintaining them 
(if permitted) may give too great an opportunity to malicious dis- 
satisfied spirits through suchlike pretences to effect their dangerous 
designs to the prejudice of the present Government." 1 

These are only samples of the action taken by hasty and fright- 
ened magistrates all over the country. The net swept wide, and 
by the end of January thousands of Friends were in prison, and 
one or two had died of the rough handling they had received. The 
King and Council were not left in ignorance of the events. Margaret 
Fell, courageous as ever, obtained audiences of Charles in which* 
she gave him detailed accounts of her people's sufferings (from the 
records which had so alarmed Sir Robert Hildyard), set forth again 
their peace principles, and told him plainly that " it concerned him 
to see that peace should be kept, that so no blood might be shed." 2 
Thomas Moor, who also had some influence with the King, helped 
her in these interviews, from which they returned with the report 
that Charles was " tender to them." But, as later, at the time of 
the Popish Plot, Charles was perfectly able to combine a belief 
in the innocence of political sufferers with an entire disinclination 
to help them when the tide was running too strongly against them. 
It was not until the panic had subsided that the prison doors were 

Fox and Hubberthorn at the first outbreak of trouble drew up 
a statement vindicating Friends from any share in the plot. It 
was confiscated in the printer's hands, but they immediately re- 
drafted it and presented it to the King and Council on January 21, 
1 660/1. Fox says "it cleared the air," although arrests and 
imprisonments still continued. 3 In 1684 it was reprinted, to 
" stand as our certain testimony against all plotting and fighting 
with carnal weapons," and thus may be taken as the official expres- 
sion of the early mind of the Society upon the question of peace 
and of loyalty to the established Government. In a later chapter 
its tenor is considered, with that of other contemporary Quaker 
tracts on peace. 

* Extracts, pp. 143 foil. * Camb. Journal, i. 386. 

3 Swarthmore MSS., i. 44, is a letter from Ellis Hookes, a leading London 
Friend, to Margaret Fell, describing the wholesale arrests of Quakers and Baptists 
at their first day meetings. ' The King and Council would have Friends promise 
that they will not take up arms . . . but our answer we have not yet returned, 
but thou knowest our principle is to live in peace and quietness." 




The little ark of Quakerism had been launched, and had survived 
the political tempests of the Protectorate and Restoration, but it 
still tossed on stormy waters in the reigns of the later Stuarts. 
Under Charles II Fox and his friends, not without opposition 
within the body, 1 completed the simple but efficient organization 
of the Society into co-ordinated groups of local meetings, Monthly 
and Quarterly, under the oversight of London Yearly Meeting, 
to which each group sent its representatives. The existence of 
this organized authority exercising regular discipline over its members 
was one cause of the gradual recognition of the Society of Friends 
and the grudging toleration of its worship which was won under 
James II. But so much of the Quaker testimony brought its 
holders into direct conflict with the social framework of the day, 
that liberty of worship in itself did not bring them ease. Their 
refusal to pay tithes in support of a State Church, to take the oaths 
of allegiance, and to have any share in military preparations were 
not condoned even when at length they could assemble on First 
Day without the expectation that their meeting would be broken 
up by a rude band of soldiers and the worshippers haled to prison. 
There was hardly a year of this period in which a Quaker could 
lead a peaceable life and follow Fox's advice " to keep clear of the 
powers." Conspiracies at home and war abroad and on the seas 
sharpened the disfavour with which officials regarded men who 

1 The Wilkinson-Story separation, about the year 1676, was the first of the 
unhappy disputes which, especially in America, have weakened the testimony 
of the Society to the power of Christian love. These first seceders, however, 
formed no separate body, but were either absorbed in other sects or re-admitted 
to membership after confession of error (vide Braithwaite, Second Period of 
Quakerism, ch. xi. pp. 290 foil.). 



would neither swear fealty to the King nor arm to defend the 
country. And when it came to open hostilities, as in the Mon- 
mouth Rebellion of 1685 and the Revolution of 1688, the Quakers 
were found in neither camp and fell under the suspicion of both 
parties. But it was under the King who gained his crown by the 
pledge of liberty to tender consciences that their sufferings were 
most severe. 

The cry of sedition raised against them in 1661 was re-echoed 
throughout Charles' reign at the rumour of any real or imaginary 
plot. Fox was again arrested at Swarthmore 1 in 1663, and brought 
to the justices at Holker Hall on suspicion of complicity in a con- 
spiracy reported to be brewing at that time in the North of England. 2 
A Catholic Justice, Middleton, called him a rebel and traitor. 
Fox's anger flamed up, and " I struck my hand on the table, and 
told him, ' I had suffered more than twenty such as he or any that 
was there ; for I had been cast into Derby dungeon for six months 
together because I would not take up arms against this King at 
Worcester fight, and was carried up out of my own county by 
Colonel Hacker before O. C. as a plotter to bring in King Charles 
in 1654.' " Middleton tried to turn the attack by a sneer, " Did 
you ever hear the like ? " " Nay," said Fox, " ye may hear it again 
if ye will. For ye talk of the King, a company of ye, but I have 
more love to the King for his eternal good and welfare than any 
of you have." He was then questioned about the plot, and replied 
that he had heard rumours, but knew nothing of it or of those 
concerned. Why then, asked the justices, had he warned his 
followers against it ? 

" My reason was," he replied, " because you are so forward to 
mash the innocent and guilty together, therefore I wrote against 
it to clear the truth from such things, and to stop all forward foolish 
spirits from running into such things. ... I sent a copy of it 
to the King and Council." He was committed to the sessions at 
Lancaster, on his refusal to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, 
and imprisoned in Lancaster Gaol, from which he issued another 
paper against war, plots, and oaths. 3 There he remained for several 
months, and in 1665 was removed to Scarborough Castle and kept 

1 Camb. Journal, ii. 39 foil. 

1 For an account of this conspiracy, which included the abortive " Kaber 
Rigg Plot" of August 1663, vide W. C. Braithwaite, Second Period of 
Quakerism, pp. 29-30 and 39. 

3 Vide p. 56. 


a close prisoner until September 1, 1666, when he was released. 
The accommodation was miserable, and his health suffered severely, 
but he made many friends, from the Governor of Scarborough to 
the soldiers in the guard-room. On one occasion his principle of 
non-resistance was put to a severe test. 

" There were, amongst the prisoners, two very bad men, that often 
sat drinking with the officers and soldiers ; and because I would not 
sit and drink with them too, it made them worse against me. One 
time when these two prisoners were drunk, one of them (whose 
name was William Wilkinson, a Presbyterian, who had been a 
captain), came to me and challenged me to fight with him. Seeing 
what condition he was in, I got out of his way ; and next morning, 
when he was more sober, showed him, how unmanly it was in him 
to challenge a man to fight, whose principle he knew it was not 
to strike but if he was stricken on one ear to turn the other. I 
told him, if he had a mind to fight he should have challenged some 
of the soldiers, that could have answered him in his own way. But, 
however, seeing he had challenged me, I was now come to answer 
him with my hands in my pockets and (reaching my head to him) 
' here,' said I, ' here is my hair, here are my cheeks, here is my 
back.' With that he skipped away from me and went into another 
room ; at which the soldiers fell a laughing ; and one of the officers 
said : ' You are a happy man that can bear such things.' Thus he 
was conquered without a blow." x 

Rumours of this " Rising in the North " and of Quaker com- 
plicity were already current in the latter half of 1662, 2 but a much 
more definite alarm was given a year later. An unsigned letter 
to Secretary Bennet, dated July 24, 1663, tells of news from the 
North " that they are all ready in the four counties and Yorkshire, 
that they will be up in a few days, the Quakers to a man are engaged 
in it. . . . So far as I can learn it is a wild business and nothing 
formidable in it, save only that the inferior officers and disbanded 
soldiers who live in these parts are in it." 3 

The Quakers' case is given in a letter from Sir Thomas Gower, 
Governor of York, a few days later. " I had this morning some 
Quakers with me who do not deny that they have been solicited 
to join in outward things to spiritual good, and that their answer 
was they would use no carnal weapon." 4 They refused, however, 

1 Journal, p. 67. * Extracts, pp. 150, 157-9. 

3 Extracts, p. 171. S.P.D., xxvii. 50. 

4 Extracts, p. 171. S.P.D., xxviii. 6. 


to betray the conspirators. "Joseph Helling, a Quaker prisoner 
in Durham, who had fallen under Ranter influence . . . and 
was out of unity with Friends, is stated to have sent a letter to 
Richardson, one of the plotters, in which he regarded ' the favourable 
conjunction of the stars' as hopeful for action. Richard Robinson, 
of Countersett, admitted knowledge of one of the arch-plotters, 
John Atkinson of Askrigg, the stockinger, who seems to have been 
something of a Quaker, as Robinson and he had been in prison at 
York together, and both names occur in the Fifth Monarchy Lists 
in Besse. Robinson himself seems to have been quite clear." x 

Even in February 1665 an East Riding magistrate was busy 
taking the depositions of villagers who had heard Quakers or 
alleged Quakers use wild words about the sword of God. 3 When 
the Great Fire raged in the first week of September 1666, the 
guilt of the catastrophe was impartially assigned to the Catholics 
and the Quakers. The smoke was still rising from the ruined 
city when a subordinate at Grantham reported his discovery to Sir 
Philip Frowd, Governor of the Post Office. 

" I have here enclosed some printed papers and a letter from 
William Talby, harness maker in St. Martin's Lane, near the Mews 
which was sent to John Petchell, a Quaker, in a trunk, and eight 
quires of them to be dispersed. If you please to communicate 
them to the King and Council, I shall, whenever you please to 
command them, send them up. They are full of sedition, and 
I am sure of a dangerous consequence, considering the sad condition 
the City and Kingdom are now in." A postscript called attention 
to the weighty fact that the seal of the seditious letter bore the 
device : " The man of sin shall fall, and Christ shall reign o'er 
all." 3 

In 1663 Francis Howgill assured Judge Twisden at Appleby 
Assizes that the Friends were clear of complicity in the rising. " If 
I had twenty lives I would engage them all, that the body of the 
Quakers will never have any hand in war, or things of that nature, 
that tend to the hurt of others, and if any such, whom you repute 
to be Quakers, be found in such things, I do before the Court here, 
and before all the country deny them : they are not of us." Yet, 

1 Braithwaite, Second Period of Quakeri:m, p. 39 note, summarizing Extracts, 
p. 178. 

2 Extracts, p. 236. S.P.D., cxiii. 63. 

3 Extracts, p. 255. S.P.D., clxxi. 24, date September 10, 1666. 


after a remand to the next assizes, Howgill was sentenced to 
imprisonment for life, and in fact died in prison in 1668. 1 

Apart from these suspicions of treason, as the military system 
of the country was reorganized upon a settled basis, Friends 
inevitably came into conflict with its demands. Acts were passed 
levying a poll tax for the maintenance of the war against the 
Dutch in 1667, and of that with France in 1678. From the 
account book kept by Sarah Fell of Swarthmore Hall, which still 
survives, it is evident not only that the women of the Fell 
family paid the tax for some property they held jointly with 
other owners, but that it was also paid by, or on behalf of, their 
stepfather George Fox. 3 

The item reads : 

29 May [1678] By m paid to the Poll Money for ffather and 


An ancient document 3 in the Friends' Reference Library 
endorsed by Fox, " A paper concerning trebet [tribute] by g. f.," 
apparently refers to one of these Acts, as it is also endorsed : " This 
is a copy of a letter sent to some Friends concerning the Poll Act." 

In it he says : " So in this thing, so doing, we can plead with 
Czesar and plead with them that hath our custom and hath our 
tribute if they seek to hinder us from our godly and peaceable 
life . . . then " [if payment were not made] " might they say 
and plead against us, How can we defend you against foreign enemies 
and protect everyone in their estates and keep down thieves and 
murderers, that one man should not take away another's estate 
from him ? " This distinction between taxation by the Govern- 
ment and the exaction of direct military service has been accepted 
by most later Friends. The question of a standing army was ever 
in dispute between the King and the people, and Parliament saw 
to it that the royal guards were kept down to the smallest possible 
numbers. Partly, perhaps, owing to the small size of the army, 

1 Besse, ii. (Westmorland). Howgill received his sentence with the words : 
" Hard sentence for obeying the commands of Christ, but I am content, and in 
perfect peace with the Lord. And the Lord forgive you all." 

2 Siuartkmore Account Book, edited Norman Penney, pp. 45, 79, 181, 209, 355, 
39 1 ' 395> 443> 473> 503, for instances of payment of assessments on property for 
militia and naval purposes, etc. 

3 Swarthmore MSS., vii. 165. Cp. Fox, Epistles, p. 137, quoted in 
Chapter IV. 


there were few instances of conversions to Quakerism among pro- 
fessional soldiers after the Restoration. A militia soldier in Ireland, 
Christopher Hilary, while serving in 1670, became "convinced 
of the unlawfulness of wars and fightings under the Gospel," and 
refused to bear arms. He received the punishment of riding the 
wooden horse (of which Quakers in the Colonies endured more 
than their share) and was (illegally) imprisoned for a short time. 1 
In 1693 the Meeting for Sufferings 2 was interested by the account 
of a soldier, James Predeaux, convinced at Canterbury, who, upon 
laying down his arms, was committed to Canterbury Gaol and 
much abused. The Meeting procured his discharge from gaol and 
army, and he presumably joined the Society. In 1690 there is a 
curious instance of Quaker pertinacity. " Henry Hayes and three 
other Friends, carpenters that worked in the King's Yard at Chatham, 
being turned out (because they could not bear arms) without their 
wages, Thomas Barker is desired to assist them to get their wages." 3 
Apparently the workmen in the dockyard were being drilled from 
fear of a French attack, and though these Quakers worked on the 
ships of war their scruples awoke at this further development. 4 
The constant fear of the constitutional danger involved in a regular 
army led Parliament to entrust the defence of the country to the 
old institution of a county militia. By the Act of 1662 property 
owners were required to furnish men, horses, and arms in proportion 
to the value of their property, while those of smaller means con- 
tributed to a parish rate for the same object. In theory the militia, 
or " trained-bands " as they were popularly termed in some districts, 
were called under arms for a few weeks of every year, but in practice 
the levy must have been erratic, for Friends in the various counties 
" suffered " at irregular intervals for their refusal to serve or to 
send substitutes. Besse, for example, in his two folio volumes of 
Friends' Sufferings, gives instances under this head in Yorkshire 
in 1664, Essex in 1659 and 1684, Cambridgeshire in 1669 and 1670, 

1 Besse, vol. ii. (Ireland). 

1 A Committee of representative Friends established in 1675 to have the over- 
sight of all cases of suffering, whether by persecution or misfortune. 

3 Meeting for Sufferings MSS. 1690 and 1693 (in D.). A case of a Friend 
pressed as a soldier for the Flanders War in 1692, beaten for his refusal to serve, 
and finally ransomed by Friends, is recorded in Beck and Ball, London Friends' 
Meetings, p. 272. 

4 In 1660 Robert Grassingham was actually travelling to his home at Harwich 
" with an order from the Commissioners of the Navy to refit one of the King's 
frigates," when he was arrested by the Sheriff of Essex as a Quaker (Besse, i. 195). 


Wales in 1677, Bristol in 1681, Berkshire in 1685, and Cornwall 
in 1688. No doubt levies were made more frequently, and Besse's 
records do not claim to be exhaustive, but punishments on this 
count are far less common than those for ecclesiastical offences, 
especially for non-payment of tithes. There was also, apparently, 
in some Friends' minds a doubt whether records of persecution 
should not be limited to these latter instances. In 1675 the Morning 
Meeting directed that " in the several counties they that find arms, 
etc., be tenderly admonished about it, according to the ancient 
testimony of Christ Jesus." I The Meeting for Sufferings con- 
sidered, on December 20, 1678, the cases of " Friends' sufferings 
on account of not bearing arms, sending out men in arms, and not 
gratifying the marshals or other officers " perhaps a hint that 
the officials were not incorruptible. It was agreed that " sufferings 
by distresses of their goods or otherwise on any such accounts is a 
suffering for the Lord and His truth, and . . . that the respective 
sufferings on that account be recorded in the respective monthly 
meetings, and thence returned to this meeting." 2 In Kent and 
Sussex, where the fear of foreign invasion was ever present, and in 
London, whose train-bands a hundred years before John Gilpin 
were formed as an efficient force, the hand of the law fell most 
heavily on Friends. The minute-books of Kent Quarterly Meetings 
show only fourteen years in the period 1660 to 1702 in which there 
is no record of fine or imprisonment for this cause. 3 Kent Friends 
were evidently men of small means, for the liabilities laid upon them 
are curious fractions of the normal claims. They are brought 
before the courts for " refusing to send out three parts of an arms," 
" not finding arms for the quarter part of a musket," " not 
contributing to the quarter part of the charge of finding a musket 
30 days at 2s. a day," and, strangest of all, for " not sending in 
half a man to a muster with a month's pay." 

In the earlier years of the period prison was sometimes the 
penalty. John Hogbin of Dover spent nineteen weeks of the year 
1 66 1 in the Castle, "by which means his trading was spoilt to his 
great damage." But usually there are distraints for fines, often 
much in excess of the sum required. " A silver cup worth 50s. 

1 W. C. Braithwaite, Second Period of Quakerism, p. 616, quoting a Minute of 
May 31st. 

* Meeting for Sufferings, MSS. Vol. i. 

3 Kent Q.M. MSS. Records of Sufferings i. 299-322, In D. 


for a fine of 20s.," " One mare worth j[y for a fine of 30s.," and 
similar plaints are recorded. In 1690 Friends at Ashford suffered 
special hardship. " When William Honeywood the Colonel was 
about reckoning the days the bands had been out he would have 
fined them at the rate of 2s. a day. But the said Thomas Curtis 
told him if they fined them not more than so, they would not care 
whether they sent them out or not. So they fined some after the 
rate of 4s. a day, which was to the utmost rigour of their Act. And 
when the Constables had done their parts, and sold things for half 
the worth, some Friends were at 8s. a day charge." * The excess 
was occasionally returned. At Cranbrook John Colvill and his 
wife were hardly dealt with in 1682 and 1683, and the record 
unconsciously paints for us a Dutch picture of a thrifty Quaker's 
kitchen plenishings. In the former year, for a fine of 40s., " the 
said constable, searching Susannah Colvill's spice-box found there 
twenty shillings and sixpence of ready money which he seized in 
part of the said fine, and to make it up carried away thirty-nine 
pounds of pewter." Next year the levy was more varied. 

"14 pieces of dish pewter 

2 porringers 
1 flagon 

1 brass mortar 

1 iron dripping pan (returned) 

3 new trundle bed sheets (returned back) also in money 

eleven shillings." 

The successive Clerks to the Quarterly Meeting make methodical 
notes of these exactions, to be forwarded to London as the Meeting 
for Sufferings had requested. Only once does the record diverge 
from a plain statement of facts, when George Girdler of Tenterden 
in 1667 declares that he is " refusing, not in contempt of the King 
or any of his officers, but in obedience to the Lord, who had showed 
him mercy, and had called him from carnal weapons to love enemies 
according to Christ's doctrine, and not to take up arms against 
them." In Sussex, Middlesex, and London there were frequent 

1 These duties in connection with the militia and with the Test oaths, were 
the main reason why Friends refused the office of constable, a refusal for which 
they incurred fines. In 1672, one Thomas Talbot, " being cunstabell or ofeser," 
so far forgets himself as to press men for the King's service " too fight, it being 
contrary to the principal of Trewth which Friends one " (London Friends' Meetings, 
p. 288). 


instances of these militia distraints during the same period, and 
Besse gives cases in which claims were made on women property 
owners. 1 But sufferings " for not bearing arms," as will be seen 
later, were far heavier in the Colonies, and the records of the 
Meeting for Sufferings and the Epistles interchanged between London 
Yearly Meeting and those established in the Colonies contain 
frequent references to these troubles. Occasionally the Meeting 
for Sufferings had to take cognisance of pettier forms of persecution, 
as when Abram Bonifield complained in November 1692 that 
the Mayor of Reading had paid off an old grudge against him " by 
quartering great numbers of soldiers, near twenty at a time, and 
when spoken to he tells him he will send him more." 2 Even 
meeting-houses were not exempt, for in 1686 George Whitehead 
and Gilbert Latey, in a personal interview with James, laid before 
him " the hardships which had befallen their friends in regard to 
their meeting-houses at the Park in Southwark and at the Savoy 
in the Strand." The Park had been turned into a guard-room 
in May 1685, and the soldiers (as soldiers have done in all cen- 
turies) " did great spoil and damage by pulling down pales, digging 
up and cutting down trees, carrying away and burning them with 
the wainscotting and benches. They carried away one of the 
outer doors, and many of the casements." The troop was called 
out to camp, and Friends began to undertake the necessary repairs, 
but in October the soldiers returned again to take forcible possession 
of the whole building. " They pulled down the galleries and 
made a brick wall cross the lower rooms, with many other altera- 
tions, as if they intended to have the sole and perpetual possession 
to themselves, having made a place for prayers (or a mass-house 3) 
at one end inclosed from the rest by the said wall." The total 
damage was computed at 150. At the Savoy, Friends were 
debarred from the use of their meeting-house for many weeks. 
The representation of " the unreasonableness and illegality " of 
these acts made sufficient impression on the King to effect the 

1 E.g. Besse, i. 172, 708. 

2 Bonifield was soon relieved from his incubus, and the mayor so far relented 
as to promise that he should not suffer again. There is another instance of unfair 
billeting. Meeting for Sufferings, 1688, 3rd mo. 18. 

3 The Monmouth Rebellion had enabled James to increase his army, and he 
showed much favour to Catholic soldiers. At the camp at Hounslow " a wooden 
chapel was set up within the lines, and horse, foot, and dragoons were encouraged 
to attend the Mass " (Trevelyan, England Under the Stuarts, p. 432). 


clearance of the meeting-houses from soldiers within a few weeks 
of the interview. 1 

As early as 1678 the Meeting for Sufferings was so much 
occupied by " the often sufferings of Friends by being impressed 
into the King's ships of war " that Daniel Lobdy of Deal was 
appointed to procure their discharge in such cases. Any expenses 
he incurred were reimbursed by the Monthly or Quarterly Meetings 
concerned, and he proved very serviceable in his mission. At 
times in the hunt for seamen the gaols were invaded and Friends 
lying imprisoned for tithes were carried away. In 1695 an unhappy 
Northerner, Gerard SefFerenson, appeals to the Meeting for help, 
" being kept on board by force and from his wife and child, although 
a Dean by nation." 2 But the hardest case perhaps was that of the 
Friends captured by Algerine corsairs and ransomed by the Meetings 
at home. In March 1701 a letter announced to the Meeting the 
safe arrival in the Downs of some who had been redeemed. Not 
only were they " very uneasy " at the crew's wicked living and 
" very desirous to see Friends' faces " (after fifteen or twenty years' 
captivity), but they also feared that they would be pressed into men- 
of-war before they could land. The Meeting at once appealed to 
the Admiralty to exempt these men, who were " redeemed at the 
particular charge of Friends and not at the Government charge." 
The danger was averted, but at least one of the captives was pressed 
a few months later at the outset of a voyage to Pennsylvania, and 
was not released until a deputation from the Meeting for Sufferings 
had laid the case personally before the Lords of the Admiralty. 3 

It is indeed surprising not only that Friends were so ready to 
cross the seas on religious visits, but that so many followed the 
merchant service as their profession. In times of war with France 
and Holland the enemy's cruisers and privateers haunted the seas 
on the watch for prizes,4 and, if this danger was escaped, an English 

1 Besse, Sufferings, i. (London), p. 483. 

1 Meeting for Sufferings, 1695. Dean = Dane, the ea being then pronounced a. 
Cp. " And thou, great Anna, whom three realms obey, 

Dost sometime counsel take, and sometimes tea." Pope. 
" Here is a great pressing seamen, and beating up for voluteers to send to France. 
And several shiploads are already sent to France, so that it is like to be a dismal 
summer " (Sivart/imore MSS., i. 52, Ellis Hookes to Margaret Fell, March 1671). 

3 Meeting for Sufferings, 1701, 1st mo. 3. 

4 In 1689 the Meeting for Sufferings had before it the case of the Quaker 
master and crew of a Newcastle collier taken by the French to Dunkirk. They 
were exchanged for French prisoners taken on the Noisteridame (Notre Dame or 
Nostridamus ?) and other vessels. 


man-of-war might hold up the merchant ship to press the likeliest 
members of the crew. Even in days of nominal peace the Mediter- 
ranean and Levant were never safe, when swift Algerine pirate- 
ships swooped down to carry crew and cargo captive to the " Sally " 
coast. Friends, as has been already noticed, were often held in 
durance there. In 1682 the Meeting for Sufferings notes the 
formation of a new meeting " even among the captives in Algiers," 
and collections for the redemption of these unhappy people are a 
common item in the Quaker records of the time. 1 In 1689 the 
Meeting sent a letter of warning to the ten Friends then enslaved 
at " Macqueness " [Mequinez in Morocco] not to resort to weapons 
for their liberty a caution which they received with great meekness, 
replying that it agreed with their own resolution, not to grieve the 
Spirit of Truth, " though in all probability there will be no redemp- 
tion for them while the [pirate] King lives, without guns." Some 
of them have been six years as slaves in this " dismal place," and 
have seen many perish. If, however, the merchants to whom 
they have entrusted money for their freedom bestow it in guns, 
should that deter them from using the opportunity ? The Meeting's 
answer is not recorded, but another letter from one of the prisoners, 
read a few days later, shows that the " guns " were to procure their 
freedom by the peaceful process of barter. 

"James Ellis writes to his father from Mackarness that a 
bargain was made by an English merchant, one Smithson, to give 
4,000 musket barrels, 500 barrels of powder, and 30 Moors for 
30 Englishmen to the King. But is now made void again." 3 

Negotiations for the release of the captives were constantly 
renewed, sometimes with the help of the English Government 
and sometimes by private effort. The pirates evidently allowed 
their slaves to correspond with friends, or letters were smuggled, 
for the Meeting often received piteous appeals for money or pro- 
visions. In 1690 the captives were fed on "seven year old decayed 
corn made into bread and mixt with lime," and they suffer greatly 

1 J. W. Rowntree, Essays and Addresses, p. 47. " There is a pathetic entry 
[in the Minutes of Scarborough, Whitby, and Staintondale Monthly Meeting] 
in 10th month, 168 1, of money returned which had been collected for the 
redemption of John Easton of Stockton from the Turks' captivity, as Easton 
was ' not to be found.' The sum was then set apart for the " redemption of 
Henry Strangwis from Turkish Slaverie,' but two years later the money was 
returned again, ' both being dead.' " 

* Meeting for Sufferings, 1689, 7th mo. 16 and 7th mo. 27. 


from eating the unwholesome stuff. The attempts at ransom were 
made through various traders (although it is strange that any trader 
would risk his person and his ship in the lion's den of these pirate 
harbours), and the business, in Quaker phrase, was " continued " 
from month to month, while the Meeting awaited the arrival in 
England of a certain " Jew " and a " Dutch Counsel " [Consul ?] 
who left the corsairs' haunts in 1690 and reached England in 
October 1691. 1 Yet it was not till 1701 that half a dozen captives 
were released from " Sally " at a cost of 480, and all of these were 
men who had been " convinced " during their long captivity. Some 
of the original Friends of the first messages had died as prisoners, 
and a few had been ransomed by private effort. In 1700 the 
Yearly Meeting, while reminding Friends of their duty to these 
sufferers, added : " When the collectors shall come with the briefs 
to Friends' houses, we hope Friends will be inclined to extend their 
charity in common with their neighbours, towards the redemption 
of the other English captives." 2 

Two artless narratives have come down to us from this later 
seventeenth century, telling of the dangers and difficulties which 
beset the ordinary Quaker in his witness for peace and universal 
love. They are both self-told : one, the pressing of Richard 
Seller, a Scarborough fisherman, the other the later experiences of 
Blake's seaman, Thomas Lurting. 

Seller was pressed on Scarborough Pier in 1665, an d l ater to ^ 

his story " weeping " to a friend, who took it down from his lips. 3 

He refused to follow his captors and, naturally, met with much 

rough treatment, being hauled with a tackle aboard the vessel, which 

was hovering off the port to carry away the pressed men, and later, 

at the Nore, " haled in at a gun-port " on the ship-of-war Royal 

Prince (captain, Sir Edward Spragge).4 Refusing either to work 

or to eat, he was promiscuously beaten by most of those in authority, 

from the boatswain's mate with a piece of the capstan to the captain 

with his cane, and at last put in irons for twelve days. His patient 

endurance, however, won him some friends, for the boatswain's 

mate declared he would never beat a Quaker again or anyone else 

for conscience' sake (" and lost his place for it "), while the car- 

1 Vide Meeting for Sufferings, vol. vii, passim. 

1 Quoted by Luke Howard, The Torkshireman, iii. 351. 

3 It is found in full in Besse, Sufferings, ii. (Yorkshire). 

4 Seller always writes of him as " Sir Edward," but he was actually knighted 
on June 24th, after these naval actions. 


penter's mate brought him food secretly, telling him that before 
he sailed his wife and mother had charged him to be kind to Quakers. 

But the captain had to deal with this stubborn passive resister, 
and Seller was brought before a court-martial constituted by the 
captains of the Fleet at the Nore, and (whether as co-adjutor or 
spectator is not very clear) the Governor of Dover Castle, 1 a Judge, 
but a Roman Catholic, " who went to sea on pleasure." The 
account of the trial leaves an impression that it was intended to 
frighten Seller into submission. The " Judge," having a pleasant 
fancy in punishments, suggested rolling the recusant in a barrel 
of nails, but the captains thought this " too much unchristian-like," 
and decided to hang him. Seller, however, remained unshaken, 
and told his judges that he was ready for death and glad to suffer, 
though some on board interceded for him. For the rest of the 
day he was treated kindly, and at night " slept well." Next morning 
he was brought on deck, prepared for execution, and a curious scene 

" Then spake the Judge, and said : ' Sir Edward is a merciful 
man, that puts that heretic to no worse death than hanging.' Sir 
Edward turned him about to the Judge, and said : ' What saidst 
thou ? ' 'I say,' replied he, ' you are a merciful man, that puts 
him to no worse death than hanging.' ' But,' said he, ' what is 
the other word that thou saidst, that heretic ? ' 'I say ' (said the 
Commander), ' he is more a Christian than thyself ; for I do believe 
thou wouldst hang me, if it were in thy power.' Then said the 
Commander unto me : ' Come down again, I will not hurt an hair 
of thy head, for I cannot make one hair grow.' Then he cried, 
' Silence all men ! ' and proclaimed it three times over that, ' If 
any man or men on board the ship, would come and give evidence, 
that I had done any thing that I deserved death for, I should have 
it, provided they were credible persons.' But nobody came, neither 
opened a mouth against me then. So he cried again, ' Silence all 
men, and hear me speak.' Then he proclaimed that ' the Quaker 
was as free a man as any on board the ship was.' So the men heaved 
up their hats, and with a loud voice cried ' God bless Sir Edward, 
he is a merciful man.' The shrouds, and tops, and decks being 
full of men, several of their hats flew overboard and were lost. 
Then I had great kindness showed me by all men on board, but 
the great kindness of the Lord exceeded all, for the day I was 

1 Apparently, Sir George Strode. 



condemned to die on, was the most joyful day that ever I had in 
my life." 

Whether Seller's life had been in serious jeopardy may be 
doubted, but his own calm courage was not doubtful. He was now 
well treated, but still kept on board. We were at war with the 
Dutch, and a naval action was impending in which even a Quaker 
might be of service. Of service, in fact, he was. A few days 
before the action he had a vision or presentiment that the ship 
would run aground on a certain spot. He had some difficulty in 
making the pilot pay heed to his warning, but when Seller had 
pointed out the direction of the danger on the compass, the other 
consulted his chart and found " the Sand, and the name thereof." 

When the fight began, the sense of danger again pressed upon 
Seller, and he warned the pilot, who set two men to take soundings. 

" They cried, ' Five fathom and a quarter.' Then the pilot 
cried, ' Starboard your helm ! ' Then the Commander cried, 
' Larboard your helm, and bring her to.' The pilot said he would 
bring the King's ship no nearer, he would give over his charge. 
The Commander cried, ' Bring her to ! ' The pilot cried to the 
leadmen, ' Sing aloud that Sir Edward may hear ' (for the outcry 
was very great amongst the officers and seamen, because the ship 
was so near aground, and the enemies upon them), so they cried, 
* A quarter less five.' The Commander cried, ' We shall have 
our Royal Prince on ground ! Take up your charge, pilot.' Then 
he cried hard, ' Starboard your helm, and see how our ship will 
veer,' so she did bear round up. The men at the lead cried, ' Five 
fathom, and a better depth.' Then the Commander cried, ' God 
preserve the Royal Prince ! ' Then the pilot cried, ' Be of good 
cheer, Commander.' They cried, ' Six fathom,' then * Nine 
fathom,' then ' Fifteen fathom,' then ' Sixteen fathom.' The 
Hollanders then shouted and cried, ' Sir Edward runs ! ' Then he 
cried ' Bring her to again,' and the fight continued till the middle 
of the day was over, and it fell calm." 

This was not Seller's only service, for through the fire and 
smoke of the engagement he saw a Dutch fire-ship making for 
the Royal Prince. He pointed out the danger to the chief gunner, 
and a " Chace-gun with a ball in her " did its work effectively. 
His own occupation was " to carry down the wounded men and 
to look out for fire-ships," and he proved so serviceable that the 
commander ingenuously remarked that it was very fortunate he 


had escaped the death-sentence. A young lieutenant, Sir Edward's 
nephew, said, " There was not a more undaunted man on board, 
except his Highness." 

A few days later a second engagement occurred. 1 Seller again 
volunteered for ambulance work, and late in the fight his friend 
the lieutenant meeting him, asked after his wounds. Seller replied 
that he was unscathed. " He asked me, ' How came I to be so 
bloody ? ' Then I told him, ' It was with carrying down wounded 
men.' So he took me in his arms and kissed me ; and that was 
the same lieutenant that persecuted me so with irons at the first." 
The English fleet retired, taking shelter at Chatham. There 
the commander offered Seller leave on shore. 

" I asked him, if I might go on shore to recruit or go to my 
own Being ? 3 He said, c I should choose, whether I would.' 
I told him, c I had rather go to my own Being.' He said, I should 
do so. Then I told him there was one thing I requested of him 
yet, that he would be pleased to give me a certificate under his 
hand, to certify that I am not run away. He said, Thou shalt 
have one to keep thee clear at home, and also in thy fishing ' ; for 
he knew I was a fisherman." The certificate was prepared, and his 
pay as sailor offered, which he " deserved as well as any man on 
board," but Seller refused both this and a gift of money from the 
lieutenant, having, he said, what would see him home. He had 
a friendly parting from the commander, who desired to hear of 
his safe arrival home. " I told him, I would send him a letter, 
and so I did." But his dangers were not quite over, for in London 
he found his story was known to some crimps for the press-gang, 
who greeted him as " Sir Edward's Quaker " and begged him to 
come to a tavern for a welcome to shore. However, on his refusal, 
they let him alone, and wished him a good journey home. 

Other sufferings awaited him at home in Yorkshire, but he had 
gone through his testing-time on this forced service in the Fleet, 
and he stood the test. If the narrative reveals him as a simple soul, 

1 The first battle was almost certainly that of Sole (or Southwold) Bay, 
June 2-3, 1665, in which the Royal Prince was engaged. There was also some 
fighting about ten days later. It is a strange coincidence that on June 3, 1666, 
the Royal Prince ran aground on the Galloper Sands and was burnt by the Dutch 
" which touched every heart in the Fleet. She was the best ship ever built, and 
like a casde on the sea " (Cal. State Papers, Domestic, 1664-5, pp. 403-9 ; 1665-6, 
pp. 481-2). 

2 That is, to go home. So Mr. Peggotty, a Norfolk fisherman, speaks of 
finding a " Bein " for Mrs. Gummidge (David Copperfield, ch. 51). 


it also reveals honesty, courage, and an absolute trust in the guidance 
and protection of God. 

Thomas Lurting, who had entered the merchant service when 

his conscience drove him out of the Navy, was also pressed several 

times in the early years of the Restoration and met with harsh 

treatment. Like Seller, he refused to eat the King's food, and 

neither words nor blows would make him do the King's work on 

a war-vessel. His captors soon grew weary of him and sent him 

home. He was a man of greater intellectual ability than Seller, 

and able to hold his own when there was opportunity for argument. 

To threats, indeed, he opposed his favourite principle of silence. 

When one captain had wearied of curses, " he said more mildly, 

' Why dost thou say nothing for thyself ? ' My answer was, 

' Thou sayest enough for thee and me too.' For I found it most 

safe to say nothing, except I had good authority for it." Another 

thought he had found a sharp taunt against the Quaker, who had 

been pressed from a ship carrying corn. The corn would feed 

the sailors, and the sailors would kill the Dutch. Was Lurting 

not an accessory to their deaths ? " I kept very still and low in 

my mind, and . . . said to the captain, ' I am a man that have 

fed and can feed my enemies, and well may I you, who pretend 

to be my friends.' " To which the captain could only reply, 

" Take him away He is a Quaker." Another captain made a 

serious effort to gain the services of this experienced and hardy 

seaman and to meet his scruples, as far as he understood them. 

Lurting told him he had been as great a fighter as others, but was 

so no more. " ' I hear so,' said the captain, ' and that thou hadst 

a command, and so shalt thou have here ; or else thou shalt stand 

by me, and I will call to thee to do so and so ; and this is not killing 

of a man, to haul a rope.' I answered, ' But I will not do that.' 

* Then,' said he, ' thou shall be with the coopers to hand beer for 

them, there is great occasion for it.' I answered, ' But I will not 

do that.' ' Then,' said he again, ' I have an employment for thee 

which will be a great piece of charity, and a saving of men's lives 

thou shalt be with the doctor, and when a man comes down, 

that has lost a leg or an arm, to hold the man, while the doctor cuts 

it off. That is not killing men, but saving men's lives.' I 

answered, ' I am in thy hand, thou mayst do with me what thou 

pleasest.' " 

Seller readily helped the wounded : but he had already taken 


his stand and won recognition for his conscience. Lurting would 
not accept an offer which was intended to enrol him as one of the 
ship's company and as a part of the machinery of war. 

But Lurting's most constructive and active piece of work for 
his faith was done in the course of his own trade. The dangerous 
state of the Mediterranean gave him the opportunity of putting 
into practice his principle of peace and goodwill to all men. He 
was mate of a ship under a Quaker captain, George Pattison, on the 
return voyage from Venice when, near the Spanish island of " May 
York " (Majorca), the vessel was captured by a " Turkish " 
(Algerine) corsair. The boat was boarded by the " Turks," who 
sent the master, with four men, on board their ship, leaving ten 
of the pirates to guard the English vessel and the rest of the crew. 
In this strait Lurting was supported by an inward monition that 
he and his fellows would be saved from captivity in Algiers, and 
he exerted himself to keep the crew patient and under discipline. 
Before long the other prisoners were sent back on board, although 
there still seemed little hope of deliverance. But Lurting had his 
plans formed. 

" We being all together, except the Master, I began to reason 
with them, What if we should overcome the Turks and go to May 
York ! At which they very much rejoiced, and one said, ' I will 
kill one or two ' ; and another said, ' I will cut as many of their 
throats as you will have me.' This was our men's answer, at 
which I was very much troubled, and said to them, ' If I know 
any of you that offers to touch a Turk, I will tell the Turks myself. 
But,' I said to them, ' if you will be ruled, I will act for you, if not, 
I will be still.' Then they agreed." 

Lurting's plan was to disarm suspicion by ready obedience to 
the pirates. He unfolded it to his captain, a " very bold-spirited 
man " but so averse to bloodshed that he did not approve until 
Lurting assured him that " I questioned not but to do it without 
one drop of bloodshed and I believed that the Lord would prosper 
it, by reason I could rather go to Algiers than kill one Turk. So 
at last he agreed to this, to let me do what I would, provided I 
killed none." A storm, which separated them from the corsair- 
ship, favoured the plan, and the policy of cheerful submission ren- 
dered the Turks so careless that two nights later he was able to 
disarm them all in their sleep and keep them below decks while 
the vessel's course was shaped for Majorca. Next morning one 


was allowed on deck, " expecting to see his own country, but it 
was May York." Lurting had some fear of a rising at this point, 
but when the Turk told his fellows, " they instead of rising, fell 
all to crying, for their courage was taken from them." They 
only begged not to be sold to the Spaniards, a promise readily given 
by Lurting, who hid them when the vessel entered the harbour. 
Unluckily, another English captain in the port, to whom they 
revealed the secret, had no such scruples, but offered to buy some 
himself, saying " they are worth two or three hundred pieces of 
eight each. Whereat the master and I told him, that if they would 
give many thousands, they should not have one, for we hoped 
to send them home again." The man, thinking them fools, told 
the Spanish authorities, who prepared to confiscate the human 
cargo. But Lurting and his men explained the danger to their 
prisoners, who helped them to get the ship under way, and they 
sailed off" in all haste, " which pleased the Turks very well." 

For a week or so they coasted about, not daring to put in at 
a Spanish port. When the immediate danger was over both sides 
grew discontented. The Englishmen grumbled at the good treat- 
ment of the Turks, to which Lurting's reply was, " They are 
strangers, I must treat them well " ; while the Algerines feared 
they might be carried to England. One day they began to threaten 
the captain, and Lurting's account of the way in which he dealt 
with the incipient rising shows the ascendancy he had gained by 
his character and courage. 

" I started up, and stamped with my foot, and our men came 
up, one saying, ' Where's the crow ? ' Another, ' Where's the 
axe ? ' I said, ' Let us have them down, we have given them too 
much liberty ; but first lay down (said I to our men) the crow 
and the axe and, every man of you, what you have provided to 
hurt them. They are Turks and we are Englishmen ; let it not 
be said we are afraid of them : I will lay hold on the [Turkish] 
captain.' So I stepped forward, and laid hold of him, and said 
he must go down, which he did very quietly, and all the rest." 

The boat's course was turned along " the coast of Barbary," 
and Lurting collected volunteers for the dangerous venture of rowing 
the prisoners ashore. Captain Pattison was unwilling to risk his 
men's lives, but Lurting assured him of his confidence in Divine 
protection, " for I had nothing but good will in venturing my 
life." Before the start the sailors' hearts began to fail them, and 


they begged that the Turks should be bound. Lurting replied, 
in his common-sense way, that the attempt would only exasperate 
them and, being quiet, it was well to keep them so. He packed 
them tightly in the stern of the boat, armed himself and his men 
with some rough-and-ready weapons a boat-hook, a carpenter's 
adze and a cooper's knife and piled the Turks' own arms in the 
bow. So they started, " committing ourselves to the Lord for 
preservation, we being three men and a boy, and ten Turks." But 
the way to shore with only two rowers seemed long, and the men's 
courage gradually ebbed. They were but thirty yards from the 
shore when the man Lurting had appointed to keep a look-out 
raised an alarm of an ambush. 

" And he speaking so positively, it seized me, so that I was 
possessed with fear ; and so soon as the Turks in the boat saw I 
was afraid, they all rose at once in the boat. And this was one 
of the greatest straits I ever was put to ; not for fear of the Turks 
in the boat, but for fear of our men killing them : for I would not 
have killed a Turk or caused one to be killed for the whole world. 
And when the Turks were risen, I caused our men to lay their oars 
across the boat for that was all that was betwixt us, and bid the 
men take up such arms as they had. Then said I to them, I would 
have you be as good as your word, for you promised me you would 
do nothing, until I said I could do no more : now I desire you 
to keep to that. For there was nothing lacking but my word to 
kill the Turks." 

All this while (Lurting tells us) the Turks were standing up, 
and the fact that the boat was not swamped speaks well for its 
solid construction. After a sharp rebuke to his men for their 
cowardice, Lurting had recourse to his favourite method of silent 

" At last all fear was taken away, and life arose and courage 
increased again ; and it was with me, it is better to strike a blow 
than to cleave a man's head or cut off an arm. Having turned 
the hook of the boat into my hand, I got into the middle of the 
boat upon the main thwarts. I struck the captain a smart blow 
and bid him sit down, which he did instantly, and so did all the 
rest, without any more blows. Then I stepped forward and said 
to our men, Now you see what it is to be afraid ; what shall we 
do now ? " 

The men proposed to take back their prisoners to the ship, 


but Lurting's reply showed the sympathy which was the source 
of his influence. 

" Not so, said I, God willing, I will put them on shore ; for 
they will come quietly near the shore, but if we carry them on 
board there will be nothing but rising. For // it were my own case, 
I would rise ten times, and so will they." A suitable landing-place 
was chosen, a few miles from some Arab villages and fifty miles 
from Algiers, and the Turks disembarked, with arms and pro- 
visions. " So we parted in great love, and stayed until they had 
all got up the hill, and they shook their caps at us, and we at them." 

A fair wind brought the ship to England, where the last scene 
of the story was played. 

" King Charles and the Duke of York and many of his lords 
being at Greenwich it was told them there was a Quaker ketch 
coming up the river that had been taken by the Turks and had 
redeemed themselves, and had never a gun. And when we came 
near to Greenwich the King came to our ship's side, and one of 
his lords came in and discoursed with the master, and the King 
and the Duke of York stood with the entering-ropes in their 
hands, and asked me many questions about his men-of-war. I 
told him we had seen none of them. Then he asked me many 
questions how we cleared ourselves ; and I answered him. He 
said, I should have brought the Turks to him. I answered, that 
I thought it better for them to be in their own country ; at which 
they all smiled and went away." 

These sea perils led many merchants and captains to arm their 
ships against pirates and privateers, and the step was approved by 
the Admiralty. Often vessels delayed their sailing until others 
bound for the same port were ready, and the little fleet was con- 
voyed by ships of war through the dangers of the Channel. This 
practice brought the Quakers into difficulties, for the other captains 
were unwilling that unarmed ships which could give no help in 
case of attack should sail in the convoy. On December 10, 1672, 
Ellis Hookes, a leading London Friend, later the first Clerk to the 
Meeting for Sufferings, wrote to Margaret Fox that he was working 
in the cause of two Friends, Thomas Hutsin and James Strutt, 
whose ships had been stopped from sailing by command of the 
Duke of York. An Order in Council had been passed that " from 
that day forward not any vessel, little or great, shall go to sea out 


of any port in England, without guns ; great guns if great ships, 
and small guns and granadoes if small ships, and must give bond 
to fight, if occasion be. This Order is procured by the envious 
petition of some Barbadoes merchants in this city, which will tend 
to the great damage of many Friends, whose whole maintenance 
depends upon the sea trade." x Friends prepared to present a 
counter petition to the Council, and Ellis Hookes used his " utmost 
interest " on their behalf. On Christmas Eve he wrote again that, 
after much exertion, he had obtained an order for the two vessels 
to sail, and they were at the Downs, " which was a great satisfaction 
to many Friends, for nobody would believe they should be suffered 
to go." 3 Twenty years later a similar difficulty was caused not 
by Government interference, but by backsliding in the Society. 
In the summer of 1690 the Meeting for Sufferings was exercised 
by the report that a shipmaster at Liverpool " that comes among 
Friends " carried guns on his ships. 3 A letter was sent by the 
Meeting to the Liverpool Friends reminding them of their ancient 
testimony and " that it hath not been the practice of Friends to 
use or carry carnal weapons, and Friends at London have suffered 
much for refusing." This shipmaster may not have actually 
identified himself with Friends, but there was shortly after a real 
defection in their own ranks. For some years (since 1678) the 
Yearly Meeting, after its sessions were over, had circulated among 
the local meetings a " Paper " or " Epistle," which summarized 
the conclusions reached during the discussions. This Epistle, in 
1692, emphatically asserts the loyalty of the Society to the newly 
established rule of William and Mary, " being obliged to demean 
ourselves not only as a grateful people but as a Christian society, 
to live peaceably and inoffensively under the present Government, 
as we have always done under the various revolutions of govern- 

1 Sivarthmore MSS., i. 76. The petition, or another to the same purpose, 
is preserved in the Colonial Records under date December 27, 1672. {Vide Cal. 
State Papers, Colonial, 1669-74, p. 455) ; it was as follows : " There is now going 
to the West Indies several considerable ships commanded by Quakers, who sail 
without guns. Now, if the said ships shall fall into the enemy's hands they will 
make considerable men-of-war against us. And also, these ships can sail much 
cheaper than ships of force, and by consequence get much profit to their owners, 
which will in time ease all ships of force of all trade. And this mischief will 
increase, if not by his Majesty's timely wisdom prevented." 

a S<wart/imore MSS., i. 53. 

3 Meeting for Sufferings, 1690, 4th mo. 13. 


merit, ever since we were a people, according to our ancient Christian 
principle and practice." l 

But in the following year the claims of Government and Gospel 
were conflicting, and the question of armed merchant ships was 
definitely raised in the Yearly Meeting. 

The Epistle gives out no uncertain voice on the matter. " A 
complaint being made about some shipmasters (who profess the 
truth and are esteemed Quakers) carrying guns in their ships, sup- 
posing thereby to defend and secure themselves and their ships, 
contrary to their former principle and practice, and to the endan- 
gering of their own and others' lives thereby ; also giving occasion 
of more severe hardships and sufferings to be inflicted on such 
Friends as are pressed into ships of war, who for conscience' sake, 
cannot fight nor destroy men's lives, it is therefore recommended 
to the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings whereunto such ship- 
masters belong, to deal with them in God's wisdom and tender love, 
to stir them up and awaken their consciences, that they may seriously 
consider how they injure their own souls in so doing, and what 
occasion they give to make the truth and Friends to suffer by their 
declension and acting contrary thereunto, through disobedience 
and unbelief ; placing their security in that which is altogether 
insecure and dangerous ; which we are really sorry for, and sin- 
cerely desire their recovery and safety from destruction, that their 
faith and confidence may be in the arm and power of God." 2 

After this statement of the particular difficulty, the Epistle 
passes on to explain the principles underlying the rebuke : 

Dear Friends, 

You very well know our Christian principle and profession in this 
matter, both with respect to God and Caesar, that, because we are subjects 
of Christ's kingdom, which is not of this world, we cannot fight (John 
xviii. 36) ; yet, being subjects of Caesar's kingdom, we pay our taxes, 

1 With the official document, two well-known Friends, Steven Crisp and George 
Whitehead, circulated a letter of their own, deprecating the party spirit which 
had distracted the country. " Away with those upbraiding characters of Jacobites 
and Williamities, Jemmites and Billites, etc., so used by the world's people one 
against another, to make parties and divisions, and to stir up wrath and enmity. 
Let the spirit of enmity, strife, and contention be judged and kept out of God's 
heritage forever, and let us have no such upbraiding distinctions in God's camp 
... no more than of Whig and Tory, long since judged out and testified against." 

2 It is worth noting that the Minute of the Yearly Meeting upon which this 
passage is based is somewhat more emphatic. " Some that profess Truth and carry 
guns in their ships . . . should be dealt with in love and plainness." 


tribute, etc., according to the example of Christ and his holy apostles, 
relating to Christ's kingdom and Caesar's, wherein we are careful not to 
offend (Matt. xvii. 27; xxii. 20. Rom. xiii. 6, 7). 

How far the trouble had spread it is not easy to judge. There 
was certainly a case in the North, at Shields, where the Monthly 
Meeting had successful dealing with Lawrence Haslam, a merchant 
captain of North Shields, who in earlier days had suffered imprison- 
ment for his Quakerism. In January 1693/4, at the Monthly 
Meeting, it was reported that " Friends had some discourse with 
him about having guns in his ship, and tenderly admonished him 
of the evil consequences of it, and of its inconsistency with the 
principle of truth " ; upon which the meeting decided that repre- 
sentative Friends " may further deal with Lawrence as in the 
wisdom of God they may see necessary, and give account to this 
meeting." These further steps were evidently successful, for in 
March, " Jeremiah Hunter and Lawrence Weardale having spoke 
to Lawrence Haslam about carrying guns does certify this meeting 
that he gives them an account that for the satisfaction of Friends 
he hath sold his guns, and is to deliver them very shortly." x 

The Society, which had been born in the days of the Civil War, 
had now, as an organized body, to face again the difficulties of civil 
strife, first in the West during the Monmouth Rebellion, and then 
for three terrible years in Ireland. West Country Friends were 
for the most part innocent spectators, and they escaped compara- 
tively lightly even amidst the butcheries and terrors of the Bloody 
Assize. Monmouth landed at Lyme Regis on June 11, 1685 ; 
his cause fell in ruin at the battle of Sedgemoor on July 6th, and 
for the rest of the year his hapless followers were hunted down by 
Colonel Kirke in the open fields and by Jeffreys in the Assize 

One of the simple memoirs of this early generation of Friends 
gives a vivid sketch of Somersetshire under the Rebellion and under 
the vengeance which followed. John Whiting, the author of 
Persecution Expos'd* was a small farmer of Nailsea, near Bristol, 
who from 1679 for more than six years suffered imprisonment in 
Ilchester Gaol, with many other Friends, on account of his refusal 

1 Moberly Phillips, Forgotten Burying Grounds of the Society of Friends. 
Proceedings of Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society, November 1892. 

2 Persecution expos' d in some memoirs relating to the Sufferings of John 
Whiting. . . . 1 715. 


to pay tithes. The durance was not always of the harshest, depend- 
ing on the caprice of the individual gaoler, and at times Whiting 
was allowed to make a short visit to his home. When Monmouth, 
in 1682, was on his triumphal progress through the West, he visited 
Ilchester, " with some thousands on horseback attending him, the 
country flocking to him and after him, the eyes of the nation being 
upon him and towards him, as the hope and head of the Protestant 
interest at that time. . . . We stood in the Friary-Gate as he 
rode through the town, and as he passed by, taking notice of so 
many Quakers together with their hats on, he stopped and put off 
his hat to us. And our Friend John Anderdon had a mind to 
speak to him and tell him, that we were prisoners for conscience' 
sake, but had a stop in his mind, lest there should be an ill use made 
of it, in applying to him and making him too popular, the Court 
having a watchful eye over him : however, we could not but have 
a respect to him for his affability, and therefore were the more 
concerned for him when his fall came." * 

The gay young noble and the gentle Quaker were to meet 
once more, after their ways had parted widely. Whiting's imprison- 
ment continued, but in 1685, when mercy was hoped for from 
the new king, " the keepers grew careless of us, and gave us pretty 
much liberty, in hopes to get money by us, it being reported that 
Liberty of conscience was in the press so long, that it became a 
proverb that ' Liberty of conscience was in the press,' it was so 
long a-coming out." 3 Whiting was allowed to attend his Monthly 
Meeting at Hallatrow, where, on May 29th, news reached them 
that the Earl of Argyle had raised an insurrection in Scotland. A 
fortnight later came the more startling news of Monmouth's 
arrival in Dorset, whereon Whiting, who was still at home, 
set out to return to prison, but at Wrington was stopped by the 

" He asked me whither I was riding ? I told him, southward 
which (though directly towards the Duke), without asking me 
any further question, he wished me a good journey, and so let me 
pass ; at which I could not but smile to myself, to see how easy 
they were to let any pass that way (for indeed the hearts of the 
people were towards him, if they durst have showed it). But that 
he might not think I was going to the Duke, I told him there was 
a fair at Somerton that day, and thither I was riding." 3 Near 

1 Whiting, pp. 32-3. Ibid., p. 140. 3 Ibid., p. 141. 


Somerton was the home of a " dear Friend," Sarah Hurd, after- 
wards Sarah Whiting, and we may forgive the young Quaker if he 
turned aside from prison to visit her. She had strange news for 
him, " how some of the Duke's men had been at Ivelchester, to 
free some of the Duke's friends who came down from London to 
meet him and were taken up on suspicion, and imprisoned there ; 
and withal, freed all they found prisoners there on account of con- 
science, and among the rest, some of our Friends. But they took 
little notice or advantage of it, but went in and out as at other 


Whiting stayed a few days at Somerton, and then went over 
to the Quarterly Meeting at Gregory-Stoke, at which they heard 
that the Duke and his army were at Taunton, six miles away, and 
"the country flocked unto him." At the Meeting he met with 
Sarah Hurd's sister, the wife of one Scott, who " dealt in horses, 
expecting to make advantage of them, which proved a snare to him." 
He had gone to make his profit of the Duke, and the poor woman 
begged Whiting to go with her to Taunton and " get him home." 
Next day the rescue party went to Taunton, putting up at the Three 
Cups Inn, opposite the house where Monmouth and Lord Grey 
were having a hurried meal. They soon met Scott, but he was 
so committed to his horse-dealing that he refused to come home. 
The persistent wife " went over to speak with the Duke, to 
desire him not to take it amiss if her husband went home, for 
it was contrary to our persuasion to appear in arms, because 
we could not fight ; and had a pretty deal of discourse with 
him (for she was a woman that could handle her tongue as well 
as most). The Duke seemed to take it well enough, and told her 
he did not desire that any should appear with him against their 


Meanwhile Whiting waited outside the inn " observing pas- 
sages " in the street, such as the fall of one of Monmouth's local 
supporters into the kennel with " his great high horse," a disaster 
which the young Quaker thought " a little ominous." " But," 
he continues, " I did not go out of my way to see the army, which 
lay in a field hard by the town, or any of them ; which I account 
a great preservation ; and soon after, the Duke and Lord Grey 
came forth and took horse (their horses being held in the street 
all the time) and rode down the street the same way as we were 

* Whiting, p. 141. 



to go home. And two great guns were haled down before them, 
to plant (as they said) at the town's end, it being reported that the 
Duke of Albemarle (Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Devon) 
was coming against them. So we took horse, and rode down after, 
and when we came to the town's end, the street was so full of 
people, that I thought it impossible to get through the wood ; but 
asking one if we could ride by, he said, we might of one side. So 
I put forward till I was got into the middle of them, looking about 
me to see the Duke. I asked somebody, which was him, he showed 
me just at my right hand. So I stopped a little to take a view of 
him, and thought he looked very thoughtful and dejected in his 
countenance, and thinner than when I saw him four years before, 
as he passed through Ivelchester in his progress as aforesaid, that 
I hardly knew him again, and was sorry for him as I looked at him. 
I spoke a few words to him, which I do not mention out of vanity, 
but to show how narrowly I escaped a snare at that time, to 
the Lord's protecting hand of providence I ascribe it in my 

The Quakers got safely away from Taunton in spite of a false 
alarm that the King's troops were at hand, and it is no surprise to 
read that " next day I went to my Friend's at Long Sutton, where, 
and at Somerton, I mostly stayed, till after the Duke's defeat at 
Sedgemoor, being a time of great exercise with her, having several 
relations (not Friends) out in the Duke's army, as three brothers- 
in-law, an uncle, and several kinsmen. And her brother Glisson, 
a Baptist, came and would have had me gone out also, and took 
up the sword till the work was over, which, if I had, I might have 
suffered as he did ; but through the mercy of God (whose holy 
name I magnify and adore in my preservation) I knew my place 
and principles better than so." 

Even Long Sutton was not to escape the troubles of war. 
" There came down the Queen's Guards (as they said) under the 
Lord Churchill, and terror marched before them (for we could 
hear their horses grind the ground under their feet, almost a mile 
before they came), and 'twas reported, there were six houses to be 
burnt, of which my Friend S. H.'s was one . . . but through the 
Lord's mercy was preserved. For when they came to the Cross 
near her house, they inquired for Captain Tucker's (who was out 
with the Duke) and went and ransacked his house, cutting and 
tearing the beds, hangings, and furniture to pieces, shaking out 


the feathers and carrying away the bed-sticks and what else they 
could, letting out the beer, wine, and cider about the cellar, setting 
fire to a barn that joined to the dwelling house, to set that on fire 
also, but being a stone-tiled house it did not burn that. . . . And 
the seventh day before the fight came down the Earl of Pembroke, 
with his Wiltshire troops of horse, and made dreadful work in the 
parish, taking several prisoners and threatening to hang some, to 
the terror and affrighting of the inhabitants." x 

But when Whiting has to describe the Terror after Sedgemoor, 
his indignation flames through his breathless sentences. 

" Several of the country gentlemen (who hardly dared appear 
before) came about in pursuit of the Duke of Monmouth's men, 
and Sir Edward Phillips (Judge of the Sessions, as aforesaid) came 
to my Friend's house at Long Sutton, and sat and slept in a chair, 
while his men went hunting about the fields to take men. And 
several were brought to my Friend's door and sent to prison, sending 
them to prison in droves as if it had been to get their horses, for 
which some of them paid dear after King William came." Scott 
the horse-dealer had his share of trouble. He passed the night 
after Sedgemoor in Weston Zoyland church with many other 
prisoners, " in order to be hanged next day, as many were ; but 
', he got out at the little north door, while the watch was asleep, and 
I so escaped with his life, lying in cornfields by day and going by night 
: till he got home, and so lay about till after the general pardon. But 
many were hanged in cold blood by that cruel, inhuman, bloody 
wretch Colonel Kirk, to the shame of mankind. And some were 
hung in chains naked, to the terror and shame of the country." 2 

Whiting, as a prisoner on leave, felt some delicacy in meeting 
Sir Edward Phillips, and so " lay innocently out in the garden " 
during his visit. Afterwards he regretted his action, as savouring 
more of caution than of courage. 

His next step was eminently characteristic of the early Quaker. 
" And soon after, seeing our bondage returning, and that I must 
submit to a prison again, and that it was the safest place as things 
were, I thought it better to go than to be sent thither or sent for, 
and so returned to Ivelchester, where the keepers began to look 

1 Whiting, pp. 140-3. 

1 Page 144. Scott was dealt with for six years by Taunton Monthly Meeting, 
which received from him a full profession of repentance in 1692. He alleged 
" inability to write " as the chief reason for his delay (J.F.H.S., xii. Pt. I, p. 35). 


after their prisoners again, and to inquire for us, and to be very 
wicked to us when we came, calling us Rebels, Rogues, etc. though 
ever so clear." The keepers did worse than call names, for in that 
sad July and August the thirty or more Quakers were all imprisoned 
in one small room, chained together in pairs. Whiting gives a 
plain-spoken account of the filth and discomfort they were forced 
to endure, and adds : 

" Nor could we put off our clothes at night but from one arm 
and let them hang on the other, so that we could not turn, but lay 
mostly on the one side (being linked together), which was very 
tedious in the heat of summer. And that which troubled us much 
also was to answer people that came into the prison, what we were 
put in or hand-bolted for, thinking 'twas on the Duke of Mon- 
mouth's account." * 

The September Assizes at Wells and Taunton, with the resulting 
massacres, roused his deep indignation. Some of his fellow- 
prisoners were carted thither. " Most of them were condemned, 
even by wholesale. Jeffreys making what haste he could, not 
regarding how he threw away men's lives, or run over them to 
hasten home to the King at Windsor to be made Lord Chancellor, 
having done the work he was sent about. . . . Many were 
executed, and their heads and quarters set up on trees, poles, etc. 
in most of the highways in this county, Dorset, and Devonshire, 
to the terror of travellers, being dreadful to behold ; and many 
transported, some wheedled out of their lives, and others terrified 
to confess in hopes of pardon, and then hanged." Some were 
hanged, he says, " for a little hay, or letting them [the rebels] have 
a morsel of victual." 

Ilchester did not escape the Terror. " There were eight 
executed, quartered, and their bowels burnt in the market place, 
before our prison window. I went out of the way, because I would 
not see it, but the fire was not out when I returned." Some in 
the town were forced " to hale about men's quarters like horse 
flesh or carrion, to boil and hang them up as monuments of their 
cruelty and inhumanity, for the terror of others, which lost King 
James the hearts of many." It was not until March 10, 1686, 
that James proclaimed a general pardon, which freed the Quakers 
and saved the remnant of Monmouth's men who had been hiding 
in woods and ditches and " might as well have been pardoned before 

1 Pages 145-6. 


I winter, if some had endeavoured it as much as they did to take away 
(jtheir lives." " 

The Meeting for Sufferings worked hard to protect West 
(Country Friends. It kept in constant touch with them, and was 
Jactive in procuring evidence of their innocence. In the autumn 
of 1685 the pages of its Minute Book are filled with copies of 
certificates to the King from officials or leading inhabitants of 
Somerset and Dorset villages, testifying to the " clearness " of 
Friends dwelling there during the " late rebellion." " Carried 
themselves very civil and peaceable," is the verdict of the constable 
and churchwardens of Conford. Vicars in some cases put their 
names to a similar testimony. In the autumn suspicion apparently 
spread to the eastern counties, and Suffolk and Essex Friends were 
forced to provide themselves with similar certificates. It was 
equally important to prove that some concerned in the rebellion 
were not attached to the Society, and twelve Friends testify that 
Thomas Paul of Ilminster had " deserted Friends these many years, 
and being of a loose, bold, drunken behaviour and conversation 
and derided of his companions for the same." 

On August 1st the prisoners at Ilchester and other Somerset 
Friends send a full reply to inquiries made by the Meeting for 
Sufferings. They use " as much brevity as the case would well 
permit," but the letter can hardly be called concise. It deals with 
i" such as did appear in James Scot's army, 2 whereof some had arms 
and some not ; several of them, before the said insurrection their 
bad conversation had manifested them to be wholly gone from our 
Society (though they might retain the name of Quaker), even in 
the judgment of such as are not friends to us, as we believe. One 
of them for open and frequent drunkenness testified against and 
denied. Another for drunkenness and card-playing, and forsaking 

1 PP* I 5 2_ 3- On his release Whiting married his " dear Friend," and they 
later setded at Wrington. There his conscience was troubled by the public fasts 
appointed to be held in 1690 and 1691 in connection with the Irish War. Quakers, 
as a rule, kept their shops open on such occasions, but Whiting had to remonstrate 
with some in his neighbourhood who conformed and so weakened the collective 
testimony of the Society. He was himself accused of disloyalty " though unjustly 
and undeservedly, being obliged to the Government for our liberty, and wishing 
well to the Protestant interest all the world over, though we could not join in wars 
and fightings or pray for shedding of blood, being taught to love enemies. For 
Christ came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them " (p. 216). 

* Monmouth had married the heiress of Buccleuch, and had the title Duke of 
Buccleuch. The Buccleuchs were head of the clan of Scott. 


our assemblies. Another married a wife and had a child before 
marriage. Another left his master for reproving him for his dis- 
orderly living. Another, an unstable man and outbreaker, borrowing 
and not paying again. . . . There was another rode in that army 
who pretty long time had forsaken the Society and fellowship of 
the people called Quakers, because of sufferings. And another, 
that since he profest himself a Quaker hath been found fighting 
and quarrelling, and came not to meetings in time of sufferings." 
All these (amongst whom " brother Scott " may be included) had 
been testified against by Friends for their offences in time past. A 
Quaker blacksmith, Roger Slocombe of Long Sutton, had been 
arrested by the King's army on a charge of making scythe-weapons 
for the ill-armed rebels, but he had been able to clear himself. The 
most serious case was that of an undoubted Friend, Thomas Please, 
or Plaise, grocer and draper of Edington. It is sorrowfully con- 
fessed that he was active in " J. Scot's army " and among the " club- 
men " in the Severn marshes. " Though he bore no arms, yet 
in some things he acted rashly and madwise to the great grief and 
trouble of the Quakers. . . . And as for the reason of some 
Friends walking in the army, we answer, some had horses taken away 
and some oxen pressed to draw their carriages, and so went to get 
them back again. And some, as they went to market or travelled 
about their occasions, did happen to come where the army was, 
and so came into it. Or sometimes when the army came near 
their dwellings some went out to see it. And we have not heard 
of any that walked in it otherwise than as before expressed." 
Recently the Clerk of the Western Assizes had visited Ilchester, 
and told the Quakers there " that on inquiry made he found but 
two of us amongst nine hundred, he having made inquiry at Bristol, 
Bath, Wells, Bridgewater, Taunton, and Exeter." One of these 
two was a prisoner at Ilchester, a young ship's surgeon, who had 
not fought but had followed his profession in the campaign. He 
had only frequented Friends' meetings for a few months. It is 
to be hoped he was not one of those so horribly done to death in 
Ilchester market place. The letter, in conclusion, repeats that it i 
was entirely against Friends' will that any should concern them- 
selves in the war, " as being contrary to our peaceable principles 
and profession, and was and is their grief and trouble that any 
such did." 

On August 8th George Whitehead, on behalf of the Meeting 


for Sufferings, writes to thank them for " such an ample and satis- 
factory account," which shows how Friends in the West realize 
that " Christ's Kingdom and Church must not be promoted by 
the arm of flesh nor built by might or armies, but by his spirit." 
Those concerned in the rebellion are not worthy of the name of 
Quakers and " by this very action of joining in this late disturbance " 
are a dishonour and scandal to the Society. Although Thomas 
Please " did not proceed so far as to take up arms," yet in many 
ways he had greatly offended against Friends' principles. It would 
be well for the Friends there to issue a paper in testimony against 
him and his actions in the rebellion, " as one that has thereby turned 
aside from the Truth professed by us, and become false to our holy 
profession and excluded himself from our society and rendered himself 
unworthy the name of Quaker." The testimony should make it 
clear that the Society as a whole has maintained its loyalty and 
peaceable behaviour, and it should be given out to magistrates and 
other persons of authority. On August 22nd Whitehead writes 
again, to acknowledge the receipt by the Meeting for Sufferings of 
a paper for presentation to the King and copies of local certificates 
of " Friends' innocency." The meeting, however, has somewhat 
amended the paper, making it as " general and inoffensive " as 
possible, their desire being " that Friends may keep as clear as they 
can possibly from charging particular persons by name about this 
late rebellion, lest we seem to be their persecutors." As to Thomas 
Please, " we find nothing that will clear Friends of him, before 
this public occasion, wherein he has ipso facto gone from Truth 
and rendered himself no real Quaker, ceasing by the same fact to 
be of us or in society with us." So their " very dear Friend," 
George Whitehead, emphatically expresses the verdict of the Meeting 
for Sufferings. The testimony, as " presented to authority ' in its 
amended form, is preserved among the Bristol and Somerset Quarterly 
Meeting records. 1 

It states emphatically that all Friends in the district were warned 
" not to concern themselves in this war," and those who took part 
" are wholly disowned." The Meeting for Sufferings completed 
the testimony by inserting a brief account of the episode at Ilchester 
gaol, when Friends refused to accept freedom at the hands of 
Monmouth's men. 

1 See Meeting for Sufferings Minute Book, 1685, and Bristol MSS. (Bristol and 
Somerset Q.M., 1842), vols. i. and ii. in D., for these letters and testimonies. 


By this time some of the Friends concerned had reached London 
to bear their own testimony, and on August 28th George Whitehead 
reported to the Meeting that he had escorted them to the King's 
Secretary, in order to bring under his notice the local certificates 
of innocence. The Secretary promised to communicate with the 
King, and declared (perhaps from experience of the treachery and 
cowardice then rife) " that of all the people he knows in the world 
none has that love as Friends to each other, to cover their friends' 
nakedness." He did not, however, fulfil his promise, and the 
mission was entrusted to William Penn, whose influence with 
James had already f won pardon for some of the unhappy West 
Countrymen condemned by Jeffreys. It was largely due to his 
efforts that many Friends were set free at the beginning of 1686. 
The next year came the Declaration of Indulgence, which the 
Quakers welcomed more heartily than the ordinary Dissenter, 
since they alone were willing to extend liberty of conscience to 
the Catholics Whiting expresses the Quaker attitude to the 
Declaration : 

" It did not come forth in the way we could have wished for, 
viz. by King and Parliament, which would have been more accept- 
able than granting it by virtue of the prerogative. . . . We could 
do no less than accept of it now, and be thankful to God and the 
King for it, however granted, as that which was right in itself, and 
made way for the establishing of it in Parliament when King William 
came." 1 

The Yearly Meeting sent an address of thanks to the King. 
The deputation was headed by Penn, who probably was mainly 
responsible for the wording of the address. While expressing 
gratitude for the grant of toleration, it added : " We hope the good 
effects thereof . . . will produce such a concurrence from the 
Parliament as may secure it to our posterity in after times." The j 
King replied : " Gentlemen, I thank you heartily for your address. 
Some of you know (I am sure you do, Mr. Penn) that it was always ; 
my principle that consciences ought not to be forced, and that all 
men ought to have the liberty of their consciences. And what 
I have promised in my declaration, I will continue to perform so 
long as I live. And I hope, before I die, to settle it so that after 
ages shall have no reason to alter it." 2 

Whiting, p. 172, also Sewel, History, pp. 607-8. 
* Quoted by Janney, Life of Penn (1852), p. 296. 


There is no doubt that, in spite of James' earlier record as a 
persecutor in Scotland, Friends as a whole believed that this was 
a genuine expression of opinion. 

It is needless here to tell again how James' one good deed led 
to his fall. On November 5, 1688, William of Orange landed 
at Tor Bay, James fled to France and, returning next year, could 
only find troops and subjects in Ireland, and in 1690 the Battle of 
the Boyne finally settled the question of the Protestant Succession. 
These years of war, which left so deep an impress on the political 
and religious life of Ireland, were a time of testing for Irish 
Friends. 1 They were hated as settlers of English origin by the 
one side, and suspected by the other for their neutrality and the 
shelter they gave to fugitives from both parties. In fact, their 
political interests and sympathies during the war must have been 
strangely divided. On the one hand they owed to James what 
liberty of conscience and worship they enjoyed. On the other 
the security of tenure for land held by most English Protestants 
in Ireland rested on the Act of Settlement of 1662, which the 
Catholic Irish naturally wished to repeal. The Dublin Parliament, 
during the war, actually ordered the restitution of estates to their 
original owners, but the order was only enforced in a few instances 
near the city. 

George Story, a chaplain in the English Army, declared in his 
history of the war that the Irish Quakers maintained a regimen 
for James at their own cost. 2 The slander has been revived by 
modern writers. It was emphatically denied in a memorial by 
the Society to the Irish Parliament of 1698, and there is no evidence 
to support it. One definite service, according to tradition, was 
rendered to the Jacobite cause by Francis Randall, a Wexford Friend. 
James, after the Battle of the Boyne, took refuge in his house. 
Randall fed him, supplied him with horses, and sent his son as a 
guide to Duncannon Fort, where a ship was waiting to convey the 
King to France. 

Even before the actual outbreak of war Friends suffered at the 

1 Statements in the following account for which no reference is given are due 
to the generous help of Isabel Grubb of Carrick-on-Suir, who put at the 
writer's disposal not only her published article on " Irish Friends and War " 
(Friends' Quarterly Examiner, May 1916), but also her unpublished researches 
into the contemporary records preserved at Eustace Street Meeting House, Dublin. 

* George Story was a brother of Thomas Story, who became a Friend in 


hands of both parties. During the war they shared to the full in 
the miseries of Ireland. Letters pour over to the Meeting for 
Sufferings in the winter of 1689-90 describing their plight. William 
Williamson at Ballyhagan writes in December that the English 
Army " take their corn, hay, oats, and provision, and pay them little 
for it," and the Meeting decides to lay the case before the Secretary 
to the " Duke of Scambergh " (Schomberg) and other persons of 
influence. In April they are able to assure Irish Friends that 
William has taken cognisance of their case, and written to " Duke 
Scumbergh." Rumour, however, said that Friends had provisioned 
James' army. Some, indeed (the Irish Friends reply), had been 
arrested on this charge on " Rogues' information, but so clear that 
they were set at liberty without examination." In the districts 
held by the Irish troops matters were much worse. From Lurgan 
William Hooper sent a gloomy account in March 1690 (read in 
the Meeting on March 14th). " Friends, some well and many 
sick and dead, and many thousands of other people and army. 
Blanch Holden is lately dead, and others too tedious to mention 
here. The face of things looks very foul here, and nothing like 
to be but destruction and our exercises very great several ways. 
Famine seems at hand, little food and very dear, and all hindrances 
for further supply of food is made upon the country, that cannot 
get their seed put in the gound. . . . We have amongst us money 
yet, but cannot have victuals for it. They are made so scarce by 
the army, so that many live poorly, and not for want of money." 
The Meeting for Sufferings was generous in offers of help, but 
Irish Friends, in their fear of further plundering, refused all money 
while the war continued, though they welcomed the " tender 
letters" sent over by the Meeting. In December 1690 the latter 
heard from John Workman of Cork " that after he, his wife, and 
children had been stripped by the Irish rebels they burnt his 
house down," and from Dublin come frequent reports that the 
" Raparees " are killing, plundering, and burning in the neigh- 

There are still preserved among the Dublin records many 
reports, pathetically primitive in style and spelling, of the losses of 
country Friends. Nothing was too trifling to escape the plun- 
derers. A small farmer in Kildare wrote : " Thay dug my 
potatoes and took all the profit of my garding. . . . Thay distroyed 
in garding ten hifes of bees worth j. . . . Thay took my gloves 


and pokat hancarchar." 1 " Thay," in this case, were the followers 
in the wake of the Irish army, whose depredations were especially 
felt in the south and centre after the Battle of the Boyne. In Ulster 
Friends suffered heavily from the billeting of William's mercenaries ; 
furniture was destroyed, grain and crops commandeered or trampled 
into ruin, and stock carried away. Losses of beds, blankets, and 
linen sheets recur constantly in these lists. One Ulster meeting- 
house was turned into a brew-house by a band of Danish soldiers, 
and the solid wooden forms served them for fuel. 

And besides all this, at the return of the armies to winter 
quarters, " the country was filled with violent sickness, which took 
away many of all sorts, and several that were driven away from 
their habitations, and had lost most of their substance, tho' they 
yet had left wherewithal to support nature, seemed to grieve at 
their losses and low estates, and so languished and died, which 
Friends were greatly supported over, having an eye to the Lord 
who not only gives, but takes, or suffers to be taken away." 2 

The loss of horses made travelling difficult, while contending 
armies also cut off communication. For twelve months Dublin 
Friends seem to have been isolated from all intercourse with Ulster 
or England. 

A belated Epistle from the Dublin Half- Yearly Meeting, 
written in November 1690, but not received till December 1691, 
estimated the losses of Friends in Leinster alone at more than ten 
thousand pounds, "besides the quarter of soldiers." In 1692 it 
was computed that the total loss of Friends through the nation was 
a hundred thousand pounds. 3 In that year Irish Friends at last 
accepted the aid of their English brethren, who sent them about 
1,800, while 100 came on their behalf from the small com- 
munity in Barbadoes.4 During these three years of suffering the 
Society in Ireland organized relief for its members. Friends driven 
from home were re-established at the earliest opportunity, and in 
the meantime welcomed by other groups of Friends. 

1 The Report of the Carnegie Commission which inquired into the conduct 
of the Balkan Wars (1911-13) contains many similar peasant lists (vide Report, 
p. 139, for both "hives" and "kitchen-garden"). 

s Wight and Rutty, History of the Rise and Progress of the Quakers in Ireland, 
1751. P- 165. 

3 Ibid., p. 158. 

4 The National (Half- Yearly) Meeting records that a letter of thanks was 
sent to Barbadoes " but a French privateer took it." A second arrived safely. 


The meetings at Dublin and Cork provided houses and clothing 
for Friend refugees and schooling for their children. In the former 
meeting Friends were warned not to apply for relief from any other 
funds besides those raised in the Society. 

There was also opportunity to help other sufferers. At Limerick, 
Dublin, and other places, Friends supplied the prisoners taken from 
William's army with food and clothing, " so that many of them 
said when at liberty, if the Quakers had not been there they had 
been starved to death." 

Both at Limerick and Cork, Friends endured all the dangers 
and privations of the siege. Joseph Pike records that the latter 
city was about to be stormed when the Duke of Grafton, the leader 
of the attack, was killed, and later a capitulation was arranged on 
terms. This probably saved the lives of the Quakers for the 
besiegers believed that all Protestants were in prison, and intended 
to put to the sword everyone found in the streets and houses. " But 
Friends were at liberty, the Irish believing there was no danger 
from us." * 

Meetings were regularly held, though Friends travelled to them 
over roads infested by robbers. " In worship no molestation," 
wrote John Burnyeat, although in many places a blank in the 
records shows that the business meetings were discontinued for 
months, and in some cases for two years. 3 When James' responsible 
officers were at hand Friends were in better case, " those that were 
in Government then seemed to favour us," and they were able to 
extend some protection to their fellow Protestants. Wight's 
History gives many instances, both of sufferings and of providential 
escapes, adding : " Tho' in those times many of the English neigh- 
bours fell by the hands of those bloody murderers, yet we know 
but of four, that we could own to be of our Society in all the nation, 
that fell by the hands of cruelty, and two of them too forwardly 
ventured their lives when they were lost." 

Of these, the names of three have been preserved. Thomas 
Greer was killed by a stray shot fired into his home by night, James 
Waseley was killed in trying to recover his stolen cattle, and John 
Barnes died of wounds during the second siege of Limerick. Four 
Friends are known to have taken up arms. " Three of these were 

1 Joseph Pike, Journal, pp. 49-54. 

1 From T. Wight's MS. it is also clear that these meetings for discipline were 
very irregularly held. 


officially ' condemned,' for having acted ' scandalous to the principles 
of truth by us professed and our known practice since we were a 
people.' At least one of them publicly repudiated his action 
afterwards, while of another it is recorded four years later that he 
had been ' out of unity for many years.' In the fourth case, that 
of a man who took a commission in the English Army, after much 
serious and lengthy consideration he was told he ' could not be 
owned ' by the Society." l 

William Edmundson's Journal 7 ' gives the fullest picture of 
the hardships endured by individual Friends. Edmundson was a 
Westmorland man who, after leaving the Parliamentary army 
in 1 65 1, migrated to Ireland, and on a visit to England in 1653 
was convinced by the preaching of James Naylor. He settled as 
a farmer at Rosenallis, near Mountmellick, and as early as 1685 
led a deputation from the district to Tyrconnell at Dublin, begging 
for protection from the plunder of the Irish troops, which was 
grudgingly granted. Edmundson's own influence was more 
effective : before they left for Ulster the troops begged his for- 
giveness, and some of their officers, with whom he made interest 
for Friends in the North (" for they were not in arms ") promised 
to protect them, and in some measure kept their promises. As 
the troubles increased he was constrained to take a step which some 
modern critics have considered involved a breach of the Quaker 
testimony against war. " Now calamity increased, the Raparees 
on one hand plundered and spoiled many of the English ; and on 
the other hand the army marching and quartering took what they 
pleased from us, and our families were their servants to make what 
we had ready for them, and it looked like a sudden famine, there 
was such great destruction. Now I considered the way to prolong 
time, that the English might eat part of their own, was to get a 
guard of Irish soldiers in that quarter which lay open to all mischief. 
So I went to Dublin and got an order from the Duke of Tyrconnell 
for one Captain Francis Dunn and his company to stay with us, 
and protect that quarter against thieves, Raparees, and other vio- 
lence." This mended matters somewhat for the time, but when 
the pressure of the war led to the removal of the guard the Irish 
began their plundering again, and " the Protestants with us went 
fast to wreck in their substance." 

1 The quotation is from an unpublished paper by Isabel Grubb. 

% A Journal of the Life of . . . William Edmundson, 1715, pp. 112-36. 


It does not appear that this request for a guard went beyond 
the use of " the magistrates' sword," so often expressly upheld by 
the early Quakers. Dunn and his men were acting as police to 
check the excesses of their own supporters. During 1689, Edmund- 
son more than once visited Dublin to lay the sufferings of the 
Protestants before James, and was, at least, received with courtesy. 
His own house was a city of refuge to many of his Protestant 
neighbours, " thinking themselves safer there than elsewhere." 
The turn of the tide at first brought little advantage. " At the 
Boyne fight, the Irish army being beaten, many of them fled our 
road, and plundered many in our parts. They plundered my house 
several times, and we were in great jeopardy of our lives. . . . 
Now was violence let loose and no Government to make address 
to ; the English army did not come near us for some time, and 
to look outwardly, we were exposed to the wills of cruel, blood- 
thirsty men." 

The English troops, on their arrival, carried off five hundred 
head of cattle and horses, and took prisoner Captain William Dunn 
and his sons, including the former protector of the Edmundsons. 
One of the sons they prepared to hang, and the Dunn family appealed 
in their distress to William Edmundson, who rode after the soldiers 
" as swift as I could, having regard to my promise of neighbour- 
hood." His story of the rescue throws a vivid light on the confusion 
of those times. 

" When the Irish neighbours saw me ride after them, many 
followed in expectation to get their cattle and people released. I 
rode four miles before I overtook them. When I came near, the 
two captains, perceiving who it was (for they knew me before), 
made an halt, and met me. I reasoned the matter with them, 
and told them of the King's proclamation, and how it would not 
be the soldiers, but they who commanded that must answer the 
injury done, and that it was a reflection upon the King's promise, 
as well as a great reflection upon the English nation. . . . The 
two captains seemed willing to release all, if the soldiers could be 
prevailed on. I rode with them to the head of the party, but they 
were very angry, would needs have killed the Irish that followed 
for their cattle. Whereupon I quitted my horse, and ventured 
my life amongst the rude soldiers to save the Irish, and with much 
ado I, with the two captains' assistance, got them moderated, on 
condition to give them a small part of the cattle to release the rest. 


Then I mounted my horse, and sought out the man whom they 
had stripped for hanging. When I found him, I threw him my 
riding-coat to put on, and desired one of the captains to assist me 
in finding of him that had taken his clothes. When we had found 
him, I reasoned the matter with the captains and soldiers, telling 
them, it was unmanly and not like a soldier to strip men in that 
manner, for I had been a soldier myself, and would have scorned 
such a base action. Besides it might be a precedent to the Irish 
to strip the English." 

When the English withdrew to winter quarters, the Raparees 
took up the work in turn. In November 1690, Edmundson attended 
the Half-Yearly Meeting at Dublin, to which many Friends came, 
in spite of the perilous roads. " We had a heavenly, blessed, 
powerful meeting, and Friends were more than ordinary glad one 
of another in the Lord Jesus, who had preserved us alive through 
so many dangers, to see one another's faces again." He himself 
had need of all the spiritual help he received, for shortly after his 
return a midnight band of plunderers attacked and burnt his house, 
and carried him away with his two sons, all three scantily clothed 
to meet the rigours of a winter night. At a mock trial they were 
sentenced to death, although the marauders admitted that Edmundson 
had protected men of both parties from the wrongs of their opponents. 
As they prepared to blindfold him the old soldier told them it was 
needless, " he could look them in the face and was not afraid to 
die." But in this crisis a band of Irish soldiers, led by one of the 
Dunns, whom he had saved before, came up and rescued the three 
Quakers. Dunn, however, treated them harshly. They were 
dragged, still starving and half-clad, to Athlone, and there thrown 
into prison, although several of the Catholic gentry spoke in their 
favour. Happily, other Friends in the neighbourhood were able 
to supply their necessities and at last to obtain their release. When 
Edmundson reached home it was to find that his farm and tan-pits 
were ruined and his wife had suffered the very fate of which he 
had warned the English marauders, having been stripped and driven 
from home in another night attack. She died a few months later 
as a result of the shock and exposure. 

The whole story is typical of the anarchy which ravaged Ireland 
in these years. It is perhaps natural that Wight's History, written 
in the reign of William III, should slur over the injuries received 
by Friends at the hands of the English army, but from the con- 


temporary records it is clear that these were severe. The grim touch 
with which Edmundson ends his story shows how much blood had 
drenched Ireland in the three years' struggle. " Now, as soon 
as the ways were opened to travel I went into the North, to visit 
Friends, and some Friends accompanied me. As we went by 
Dundalk, there were many bones, and tufts of green grass that 
had grown from carcasses of men, as if it had been heaps of dung." 

Yet the final result of these sad times, in the view of the Society's 
Irish historian, was that " Truth gained ground and Friends came 
more into esteem than formerly in the minds of many, both rulers 
and people, through their innocent, wise deportment in the fear of 
God." In the years immediately following the war (as is stated 
in T. Wight's original MS. of 1698) Dublin Friends found such 
numbers frequenting their meetings for worship that they were 
constrained to build a large meeting-house in Sycamore Alley, on 
the site of the present Eustace Street building. It was probably 
the characteristic, noted in the same document as " Friends keeping 
their places in the midst of dangers " (displayed not for the first or 
the last time in the Society's history) which drew others to seek 
strength and confidence from the same source. 

In England, under William III, Friends enjoyed a large measure 
of toleration, and were fast settling down into quiet respectability, 
although before the seventeenth century ended they had one more 
opportunity of expressing their " clearness " of all rebellious designs. 
In February 1695/6 a Jacobite plot for the murder of the King 
was discovered. The result was an outburst of loyalty, which took 
shape in a voluntary " Association " to swear loyalty to William 
and to promise him armed protection. This oath was popularly 
used as a test of loyalty, and Friends came into some difficulty. 
On February 28th the Meeting for Sufferings ordered John White- 
head and George Whitehead to draw up " A Paper relating to 
Friends' innocence from plots and all murderous designs." This 
was approved next month and, when printed, distributed to country 
meetings. In April " Thomas Lower reports that the paper 
declaring Friends' innocency from plots, etc., was the 8th instant 
delivered the King by the Friends appointed, and he returned them 
thanks for the same and wished them good success in the House 
of Lords. 1 Since which they understand the King has read it, 

1 Where a Bill was in progress giving Quakers the right of Affirmation in 
certain cases. 


and expressed himself well-satisfied therewith." In the paper 
Friends " solemnly and sincerely declare " that they have always 
believed " the setting up and putting down Kings and Governments 
is God's peculiar prerogative, for causes best known to himself, 1 
and that it is not our work or business to have any hand or con- 
tinuance therein, nor to be busybodies in matters above our 
station. . . . And according to this, our ancient and innocent 
testimony, we often have given forth our testimony, and now do, 
against all plotting and conspiracies and contriving insurrections 
against the King or the Government, and against all treacherous, 
barbarous, or murderous designs whatsoever, as works of the devil 
and darkness. . . . And whereas we, the said people, are required 
to sign the said Association, we sincerely declare that our refusing 
so to do is not out of any disaffection to the King or Government, 
nor in opposition to his being declared rightful and lawful King 
of these realms, but purely because we cannot for conscience' sake 
fight, kill, or revenge either for ourselves or any man else. 

" And we believe that the timely discovery and prevention of 
the late barbarous design and mischievous plot against the King 
and Government and the sad effects it might have had, is an eminent 
mercy from Almighty God, for which we and the whole nation 
have great cause to be humbly thankful." , 

William III always showed friendliness towards the Quakers, 
even to those, like Penn, who were openly favourable to his pre- 
decessor. Gilbert Latey, his watchmaker, a London Friend, was 
on intimate terms with his royal employer. On their side Friends 
cherished real gratitude to the first ruler who was able to establish 
a workable, even though incomplete, system of religious toleration. 
They shared to the full the joy of other Englishmen at the Peace 
of Ryswick, concluded in 1697, and the Yearly Meeting on this 
occasion addressed the King with an expression of thankfulness 
that God had " graciously turned the calamity of war into the 
desired mercy of peace." 

1 This became a favourite formula much employed by American Friends in 
the Revolutionary War. 


There is a spirit, which I feel, that delights to do no evil nor to revenge 
any wrong, but delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy its own to 
the end. Its hope is to outlive all wrath and contention, and to weary out 
all exaltation and cruelty, or whatever is of a nature contrary to itself. It 
sees to the end of all temptations : As it bears no evil in itself, so it conceives 
none in thought to any other : If it be betrayed, it bears it ; for its ground 
and spring is the mercies and forgiveness of God. Its crown is meekness, 
its life is everlasting love unfeigned, and [it] takes its kingdom with entreaty 
and not with contention, and keeps it by lowliness of mind. In God alone 
it can rejoice, though none else regard it or can own its life. It is con- 
ceived in sorrow and brought forth without any to pity it : nor doth it 
murmur at grief and oppression. It never rejoiceth but through sufferings ; 
for with the world's joy it is murdered. I found it alone, being forsaken : 
I have fellowship therein with them who lived in dens and desolate places 
in the earth ; who through death obtained this resurrection and eternal 
holy life. Dying Words of James Nay/or, 1660. 




The seventeenth century might be called the Age of Tracts. The 
possessor of any view on any subject, political or religious or social, 
felt bound to give it to the world, his opponents felt bound to combat 
it, and despite the intermittent censorship of the time, the result 
was a snowstorm of hastily written and hastily printed pamphlets 
which in some degree took the place, in the free expression of 
opinion, of the modern newspaper and review. 

The Quakers contributed their full quota to the mass ; many 

of the weighty folio volumes entitled the " Works " of one or 

another early Friend consist mainly of reprinted pamphlets, and 

large numbers survive as separate tracts, often anonymous. Amongst 

those of the early period which deal with the questions of peace 

and war, those now to be discussed deserve consideration, either 

from the standing of their writers or from their own intrinsic 

interest, or for both reasons. They fall into three classes. Some, 

accepting the soldier's profession as a necessity of the time, appeal 

to the Army of the Parliament to use its power on the side of 

righteousness ; others set forth " the life and power that take away 

the occasion for wars " ; others explain and vindicate the Quaker 

attitude against the misunderstandings of suspicion or enmity. In 

Fox's own writings all these positions may be found. His Epistles 

are direct personal appeals to individuals or groups. As early as 

1653 he issued an exhortation to "all soldiers, governors, and 

officers " to refrain from persecution, to follow the inner light, 

and to take the Baptist's words as their guide of conduct. 1 In a 

similar strain (probably in 1657) ne addressed " George Monk and 

the army in Scotland." a But in the letters to Friends already 

1 SwartLmore MSS., ii. 66. Suarthmore MSS., ii. 25. 

8 IJ 3 


quoted, and in many others he is emphatic on the peaceable nature 
of true Christianity. "The Peace-maker" (he wrote in 1652) 
" hath the kingdom, and is in it ; and hath the dominion over the 
Peace-breaker, to calm him in the power of God." 1 Again, in 
1657 ' "For all dwelling in the light that comes from Jesus, it 
leads out of wars, leads out of strife, leads out of the occasion of wars, 
and leads out of the earth up to God, out of earthly mindedness 
into heavenly mindedness, and brings your minds to be in heaven." 3 
At the time of the militia levies in 1659 ms advice was clear. " As 
for the rulers, that are to keep peace, for peace's sake and the 
advantage of truth, give them their tribute. But to bear and carry 
carnal weapons to fight with, the men of peace (which live in that 
which takes away the occasion of wars) they cannot act in such 
things, under the several powers ; but have paid their tribute," 
and in so doing, he adds, Friends may better claim their liberty. 3 
All war and persecution is a departure from allegiance to Christ. 
The Jews, indeed, fought against the heathen, but Christ came to 
put an end to the Jewish outward types. "In the apostate-Chris- 
tians' times, they are crying up the outward sword again," 4 and each 
Church is ready to propagate its doctrines by force and to settle 
all disputes by war. " Forgive us as we forgive them, cry Papists, 
cry Episcopal, cry Presbyterians, and Baptists and Independents 
. . . and then, like a company of senseless men, without under- 
standing, fall a-fighting one with another about their trespasses 
and debts." 5 

The Declaration of January 1 660/1 is definitely addressed to 
the public as a vindication of the Society. In 1684, after the 
Insurrection Plot for which Algernon Sidney and Lord William 
Russell paid with their lives, the " Morning meeting " 6 reprinted 
the Declaration " as the unchangeable and assured testimony of 
Friends against all conspiracy and violence." At its first publica- 
tion it was sold in the streets as a broad-sheet under the title, " A 

1 Fox, Epistles, p. n. 

* Epistles, p. 108, -vide also Swarthmore MSS., ii. 95. 

3 Epistles, p. 137. 

4 Ibid., p. 103. 

5 Epistles, p. 132, and Swarthmore MSS., ii. 103. 

6 The Second Day Morning Meeting, formally set up in 1673, was composed 
of leading Friends who were ministers, and amongst other functions acted as 
a censor and corrector of Friends' writings. In 1901, it was amalgamated with 
the Meeting for Sufferings. In 1684, Penn's intimacy with Sidney may have 
brought Friends under suspicion. 


Declaration from the harmless and innocent people of God called 
Quakers, against all sedition, plotters, and fighters in the world : 
for removing the ground of jealousy and suspicion from magistrates 
and people concerning wars and fightings. Presented to the King 
upon the 21st day of the nth month 1660." * The document is 
signed by Fox, Hubberthorn, and ten other Friends. It is lengthy 
and contains repetitions, but its tenor is unmistakable. Although 
there are frequent quotations from Scripture, the principle of peace 
which the writers proclaim is derived not from texts as its ultimate 
warrant, but from the ever-present and ever-teaching Spirit of 

First they set forth their testimony. " Our principle is, and 
our practice always has been, to seek peace and ensue it ; to follow 
after righteousness and the knowledge of God ; seeking the good 
and welfare, and doing that which tends to the peace of all." War 
arises from the evil passions of man's lower self : the Friends have 
utterly abjured all use of outward weapons. " This is our testimony 
to the whole world." But the objection has been raised that this 
may be only a temporary opinion : if " the Spirit move," Friends 
(as Ranters have been in the past) may be found among plotters and 
fighters. The answer of the Declaration gives no uncertain sound. 

" The Spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not change- 
able, so as once to command us from a thing as evil, and again to 
move us to it, and we certainly know and do testify to the world, 
that the Spirit of Christ, which leads us into all truth, will never 
move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, 
neither for the Kingdom of Christ nor for the kingdoms of this 

For further proof they can point to their admitted record in 

the past. " This we can say to the world, we have wronged no 

man, we have used no force nor violence against any man : we have 

been found in no plots, nor guilty of sedition. When we have been 

wronged, we have not sought to revenge ourselves ; we have not 

made resistance against authority ; but whenever we could not 

obey for conscience sake, we have suffered the most of any people 

in the nation. We have been counted as sheep for the slaughter, 

1 There are various editions in D. of the 1660 tract, which differ somewhat 
from that of 1684, quoted in Ellwood's edition of Fox's Journal. One, D. 575, 13, 
is considered by Norman Penney to belong to the first (confiscated) edition. 
Another has a paragraph complaining of the " violent and unjust taking away the 
whole first impression." 


persecuted and despised, beaten, stoned, wounded, stocked, whipped, 
imprisoned, haled out of synagogues, cast into dungeons and noisome 
vaults, where many have died in bonds, shut up from our friends, 
denied needful sustenance for many days together, with other the like 
cruelties." They have never resisted the violence of their oppo- 
nents. "It is not an honour to manhood or nobility to run upon 
harmless people, who lift not up a hand against them, with arms 
and weapons." 

The charge of treason has been brought against them under 
every form of Government. " Our meetings were stopped and 
broken up in the days of Oliver, under pretence of plotting against 
him ; in the days of the Committee of Safety we were looked upon 
as plotters to bring in King Charles ; and now our peaceable meetings 
are termed seditious." Yet the spirit of love breathes through the 
paper. " Never shall we lift up hand against any that thus use 
us ; but desire the Lord may have mercy upon them, that they 
may consider what they have done." 

Fox says that the Declaration was drafted by Hubberthorn and 
himself. How much its style and coherency owed to the former 
may be seen from a later manuscript testimony drawn up by Fox 
during his imprisonment at Lancaster in 1664, 1 and afterwards 
signed by Margaret Fell and other imprisoned Friends. A copy 
sent to Colonel Kirkby, the chief of the magistrates who had com- 
mitted Fox to gaol, has been preserved in the Record Office. The 
paper is drawn up under fifteen heads, but the testimony against 
war and plots and the testimony against oaths are almost inextricably 
entangled. Its chief interest is the very definite statement of the 
Quakers' political attitude. " I saw by the power of God the King 
was brought into the land, which brought down a great deal of 
that which we do declare against, and suffered by that hypocrisy. 
So I and we do say that he ought to have his right and all men. . . . 
So our allegiance lies in this that we would not have the King 
hurt, and we would have him have his right, and we deny all that 
take up arms against him, we first deny it in ourselves and then 
in others." Some of us, he continues, have known " a time of the 
spear and sword," but now they are broken. He also develops a 
favourite theme in the argument that the weapons and wars of the 
Jewish dispensation were a type of the spiritual weapons and contest 
described in Ephesians vi. 11 -17. 

Vide Chapter III, p. 70. 


This doctrine of submission to established authority, in so far 
as that authority did not invade the realm of conscience, was one 
cause of the aloofness of the majority of Quakers from political 
matters in days when the ruling powers of one decade were the 
rebels of the next. Its resemblance to the high Tory doctrine of 
passive obedience was only superficial, for the Quaker's obedience 
was given to the de facto Government and he never plotted on behalf 
of the deposed power. 

Yet, in spite of this non-political bias, Quakers, like other 
pamphleteers, were prodigal of advice and admonition in the troubled 
year 1659, when the Army threatened to rule. Perhaps the words 
most relevant to the situation were those written by George Fox 
the Younger in a little tract entitled, " This is for you who are 
called the Commonwealth men both in the Army and Parliament 
to read." * The power of the sword, he says, was committed to 
them for the specific purpose of establishing the liberties and freedom 
of the nation and destroying tyranny, " and not to make a trade 
of using your swords to enrich yourselves by them. . . . This 
spirit if it ruled you, would make you as freely willing then to 
lay down your places and swords as ever any of you were made 
free to take them up, and then to fall upon improving the creation 
in the fear and wisdom of the Lord, and to be content to enjoy an 
equal proportion and share of the liberty (with your fellow-creatures) 
which you have fought for ; and if it were thus, then you might 
truly be called the Commonwealth men, or servants." If they 
desire to continue as an army, the temptation will come not to use 
their power to re-establish complete order and liberty " lest your 
trade should fail." 

This sober reasoning by their old colleague may have influenced 
the temper of the troops ; they displayed the very spirit he desired 
when, upon the Restoration, they submitted to disbandment, and 
returned quietly to their old civilian occupations. " Of all that 
they had done for England's welfare and liberty nothing is more 
to their credit than that they voluntarily laid down their power 
when they perceived that they had begun to abuse it." 3 

There was a general admission on the part of early Quakers 
that the majority of the Commonwealth soldiers were inspired by 

1 In D. The writer was so-called because " younger " in the faith than 
George Fox, though not in years. 

2 G. M. Trevelyan, England Under the Stuarts, p 330. 


high motives, and as many of the Society's members were recruited 
from the ranks of the Army they had had opportunities of judging 
its character. George Fox the Younger, in another paper addressed 
to the Army in 1 659, says : " The Lord appeared with you in 
the field, giving you mighty victories over your enemies, that so 
he might make way for his living truth to be spread, which was 
then stirring in his people." Again : " O Army ! In which 
was I several years together, in which time I saw the mighty 
appearance of God with thee, even in the time of the outward war, 
and when the war was ended I left thee in obedience to the appear- 
ance of the living God unto me, who . . . hath brought me into 
the life of that Truth which I, and many of you in the Army professed 
in words." I 

A different and more dangerous view of the duties of the English 
soldier was uttered by Edward Burrough in that same year. The 
episode is curious, and deserves some notice. 

Edward Burrough and Samuel Fisher were two of the first 
Friends to carry their message across the seas. In the spring of 
1659 they visited Dunkirk, tried to hold some intercourse with 
the religious seminaries there, and had meetings with the English 
garrison. Like Paul, Burrough's spirit was stirred within him by 
the sight of a city given up to what seemed to him idolatry, and 
at his departure he addressed the soldiers in an Epistle 2 which gave 
men of war a worthier place in the divine economy than other 
Friends allowed. After exhorting them to observe their duty in 
their military station, he continued : " What do you know but the 
Lord may have some good work for you to do, if you be faithful 
to him ? . . . The Lord hath owned and honoured our English 
Army, and done good things for them in these nations in our age, 
and the Lord once armed them with the spirit of courage and zeal 
against many abominations, and gave them victory and dominion 
over much injustice and oppression and cruel laws." But at last 
they were overcome by ambition and self-indulgence. Let them 
recover their old spirit and take no rest " till you have visited Rome, 
and inquired after and sought out the innocent blood that is buried 
therein, and avenged the blood of the guiltless through all the 
dominions of the Pope : the blood of the just it cries through Italy 
and Spain, and the time is come that the Lord will search it, and 

1 Writings of George Fox the Younger, London, 1665, pp. 12 and 6S-70. 
3 Works, pp. 537-40. 


seek it out, and repay it ; and it would be to your honour to be 
made use of by the Lord in any degree." It was, he added, the 
Lord's own work to bring men into the spirit of true religion, but 
" yet he may work by you, to break down the briars and thorns 
and the rocks and hills that have set themselves against the Lord." 
Therefore the officers should treat their men with justice and mercy, 
and the men must be dutiful and obedient to their officers, that 
" having no sin lying upon your conscience then shall you face your 
enemies with courage and not fear death." The Scriptural quota- 
tions and allusions in this fervent appeal are drawn from the Apoca- 
lypse and the Prophets, rather than from the teaching of Christ 
and the Apostles. The preacher himself felt that the passage in 
which he counselled the soldiers to turn for guidance to the light 
of Christ within lacked congruity with the earlier part of the 
Epistle, for he made an attempt to reconcile reliance on the outward 
sword with the spiritual doctrine of the Quakers. " And yet 
though such a victory would be honourable unto you, yet there 
is a victory more honourable, to wit, the victory over sin and death 
and the devil in yourselves. . . . Your work hath been, and may 
be, honourable in its day and season, but he hath a work more 
honourable to work after you ; that is, to destroy the kingdom of 
the devil and the ground of wars." The other side of his nature, 
however, triumphs again in the final exhortation to seek " the 
glory of the Lord and the freedom of the oppressed ; and in that 
you will be blessed and prosper, till you have set up your standard 
at the gates of Rome." In this year, 1659, Fox wrote : " Friends, 
take heed of blending yourselves with the outward powers of the 
earth," and rebuked the religions that were ready to fight about 
religions, and " kill like the heathen about their gods." Sewel, 
writing his History a generation later, was perturbed by the martial 
tone of Burrough's Epistle, which he tried to explain on the ground 
that Burrough was anxious " not to give them too rough a brush, 
but to meet them somewhat in their own way," while the Quaker 
teaching was emphasized " lest any should think he was for the 
bearing of arms and not for harmlessness or non-resistance." * 

But Burrough can hardly be cleared from a confused attempt 
to make the best of both worlds to use the weapons of war while 
praising the gospel of peace. The attempt has been made in all 
ages by many professing Christians, but the inconsistency is most 

1 Sewel, History, Book V. 


manifest in a Quaker. It is perhaps worth noting that his private 
letters, preserved in the Swarthmore collection, show a fondness for 
military metaphor. His fit of militarism, however, was shortlived, 
for next year he stated the Quaker position with no lack of clearness. 

In " A Visitation of Love to the King and those called 
Royalists," x he readily admits that some Quakers had been soldiers 
in the army of the Parliament, " and that principle, which formerly 
led some in action to oppose oppression and seek after reformation 
we never have denied or shall deny, but that principle is still justified, 
though we are now better informed than once we were. For 
though we do now more than ever oppose oppression and seek after 
reformation, yet we do it not in that way of outward warring and 
fighting with carnal weapons and swords, . . . never since we 
were a people." And in " A Vindication of the People of God 
called Quakers," 3 he answers the accusation which confounds them 
with the Fifth Monarchists. " As for killing all the wicked, this 
is another false charge ; for it is not our principle to war against 
the persons of any men, and kill them with carnal weapons, about 
Church, and ministry, and religion, as the Papists and Protestants 
do one with another ; . . . we would have men's wickedness killed, 
and their persons saved, and their souls delivered ; and this is the 
war we make." 3 

A curious fact, not very easy to explain, is the similarity between 
this Epistle of Burrough and an anonymous tract, by some attributed 
to Fox, which also belongs to the year 1659. This is an eight- 
page pamphlet, entitled " To the Councill of Officers of the Armie 
and the Heads of the Nation, and for the inferior officers and souldiers 
to read." 4 It is signed " F. G.," but the copy at the Friends' 
Reference Library is endorsed in pencil in a later hand " G. F. 1659," 
and at some time in the eighteenth century it was bound up in a 
volume of tracts mainly by Fox. 

1 Burrough's Works, 1672, p. 671. 3 Ibid., p. 748. 

3 He has courage to champion even the Anabaptists. " I cannot believe they 
are of that spirit of murder and tyranny, etc., as is reputed by your informer, 
though their judgment in every case, neither about civil nor spiritual things I 
dare not justify." Still earlier, in 1655, he had written to the " poor desolate 
soldiers " in Ireland of the Light that " reproves you in secret of violence, and will 
teach you not to make war, but to preserve peace on the earth " {Works, p. 93). 

4 The tract is i. 56 in D. Miss Brailsford discusses it in an article in the 
Contemporary Re<vienxi (November 1915, "Cromwell's Quaker Soldiers"), but 
attributes it to the year 1657. The allusion to New England makes this date 
impossible, and the writer mentions the Quaker evictions from the Army only as 
one incident of a long persecution. 


Opening abruptly, " O Friends, do not rule with your own 
reason ! " the writer goes on to plead against oppression and per- 
secution of all kinds. Friends have suffered " these seven or eight 
years " in England, and now they are enduring fresh cruelties under 
" the new Inquisition in New England." An animated description 
is given of the persecution of Friends in their worship and in private 
life. " And many valiant captains, soldiers, and officers have been 
put out of the Army by sea and land, of whom it hath been said 
among you, that they had rather have had one of them than seven 
men, and could have turned one of them to seven men, who because 
of their faithfulness to the Lord God, being faithful towards him, 
it may be for saying Thou to a particular [single person], and for 
wearing their hats have been turned out from amongst you." Then, 
turning to the Army, which had acted as the agent of persecution, 
the writer declares : " Had you been faithful to the power of the 
Lord God which first carried you on, you had gone into the midst 
of Spain ... to require the blood of the innocent that there had 
been shed ; and commanded them to have offered up their inquisi- 
tion to you, and gone over them as the wind, and knock't at Rome's 
gates before now, and trampled deceit and tyrants under, and de- 
manded the Pope himself, and have commanded him to have offered 
up all his torture-houses, and the racks and Inquisition (which you 
should have found as black as hell), and broke up the bars and gates 
where all the just blood has been shed, which should have been 
required. . . . And then you should have sent for the Turk's 
Idol, the Mahomet, and plucked up idolatry, and cried up Christ, 
the only King and Lord. . . . And if ever you soldiers and true 
officers come again into the Power of God which hath been lost, 
never set up your standard until you come to Rome, and let it be 
atop of Rome, then there let your standard stand." 

Yet the writer believes that the " power of the Lord " would 
have accomplished this without violence and bloodshed, for he says 
that those obedient to Christ love their enemies, and only one " out 
of truth, . . . will kill and compel and persecute to death, to 
worship." Again, in the passage immediately before the descrip- 
tion of the standard at Rome, he says : 

" Stand in that in which there is peace, the Seed Christ, which 
destroyeth the Devil the author of wars, strifes, and confusion," 
and exhorts the soldiers to do violence to no man nor be like blind 
persecutors, " for persecution was always blind," 


It seems impossible either to prove or disprove the authorship 
of Fox. The handwriting of the MS. index to the volume of 
tracts is apparently that of Joseph Besse, which would carry the 
attribution to Fox back to the early eighteenth century. It is 
noted under Fox's name in Joseph Smith's Catalogue of Friends' 
Books, 1867, but in this he was probably following the pencil 
endorsement on the tract itself. On the other hand, I have not 
found its title in two very careful and elaborate chronological indices 
to Fox's works, made either during his lifetime or immediately after 
his death, and now in the Friends' Reference Library. The style 
is not very characteristic of Fox, and in some points more resembles 
that of George Fox " the Younger," particularly in the elaborate 
conclusion : 

From a Lover of peace and all souls, who stands in the election before 
the world began, 

F. G. 

One sentence almost implies that the writer was a soldier : 
" Thousands of us went in the front of you, and were with you in 
the greatest heats." The signature, " F. G.," however, is not 
known to have been used by George Fox the Younger, while, 
although rare, it does occur in some of Fox's pamphlets and letters, 
for instance the declaration to Cromwell in 1654. The tract 
has no publisher's name, and on the whole I am inclined to think 
it may be a resume of recent utterances and writings by several 
leading Friends, made for the benefit of the army by some ardent 
follower (possibly George Fox the Younger ?) without their know- 
ledge. This would explain its echoes and inconsistencies. The 
passages about Spain and the Pope resemble Burrough's Epistle too 
closely to be mere coincidence. An undoubted tract by Fox, 
published immediately after the Restoration, gives no countenance 
to wars of religion. This is the " book," Fear God and Honour 
the King, of which Fox wrote in his Journal, 1 666, that it " did 
much affect soldiers and most people." From his allusion it might 
belong to that year, but in fact it was published in 1660, and was 
probably intended to establish the loyalty of Friends in the eyes 
of the authorities. 1 Its argument is that no one who does not live 

1 A word on behalf of the King, that he may see who they are that . . . 
Fear God and Honour the King ; . . . and also to see that Christ ends the Jews' 
law by which they were to kill about religion such as are contrary-minded, and 
he never gave out any since to do so, but to love enemies . . . and they that do 
so are the true Christians (1660, Tracts, 45, 28 in D.). 


in the fear of God can truly honour the King. Fox is emphatic, 
and even intemperate in his denunciations of the military and civil 
vices of the day, but the long catalogue of sins forms a dark back- 
ground against which shines out the peaceable message of the 
Gospel. " To love enemies, it is not to kill them and to destroy 
them, but to overcome them with the good. . . . Such as will 
fight and kill and destroy for a morsel of bread or a mess of pottage, 
are profane as Esau was. . . . Now the Jews who hated enemies 
their weapons are carnal, but they that love enemies (the Christians) 
their weapons were and are spiritual. So Christ ends that law of 
the Jews, which they thought they did God good service by, when 
they put to death them that were contrary minded to them ; for 
they could not love enemies that killed them, neither can they that 
love enemies now kill them. . . . And he broke down the par- 
tition wall which was between Jew and Gentile, who slew the enmity, 
and so of twain made one new man, and thereby came the love to 

Another interesting figure in this group of early Friends was 
Isaac Penington. Son of a Puritan Lord Mayor of London and 
married to Lady Springett, widow of a Parliamentary officer, he 
was not likely to be looked upon favourably by the new Govern- 
ment. Husband and wife had been convinced of the truth of 
Friends' principles in 1658. In 1659, like many other Friends, 
he addressed " The Parliament, the Army, and all the well-affected 
in the Nation who have been faithful to the good old cause." I 
The pamphlet bears clear traces of his Puritan upbringing. He 
urged the soldiers not to become discredited by their dissensions. 
" The account of all the blood which hath been shed lies some- 
where. Was it for a thing of naught ? Was it of no value ? 
Nay, it was precious in the sight of the Lord, many (yea, very 
many) in the singleness and simplicity of their hearts losing their 
lives for the cause." There had often been " a naked, honest, 
simple, pure thing stirring in the army," but evil persons had made 
it a tool for their private ends so that it did not procure the " righteous 
liberty and common good " at which the majority aimed. Turning 
to the Parliament, he warned them : " Let not the army be your 
confidence. Do not any one thing to please the army, much less 
a corrupt interest of a part of the army ; but apply yourselves to 
do that which is truly just and righteous in the sight of God, of 

1 Penington, Works, p. 135. 


the army, and of all men." A few months later, when the monarchy 
was restored, Penington drew the moral. " It is man's way to 
settle himself by outward strength against outward strength, and then 
he thinks he is safe, not eyeing the invisible hand which turns the 
wheels." x Next year, 1661, while lying in Aylesbury gaol on 
behalf of his faith, he wrote an apology for the Quaker as citizen, 
which shows a real effort to enter into the mind and meet the 
objections of the average Englishman when confronted by this 
unfamiliar attitude towards war. The paper is lengthy, and it has 
a lengthy title. 2 

The Weighty Question (the apology is written in the form of 
a catechism) is, whether Quakers " who (by the peaceableness and 
love which God hath wrought in their spirits, and by that law of 
life, mercy, good-will, and forgiveness, which God by his own 
finger hath written in their hearts) are taken off" from fighting and 
cannot use a weapon destructive to any creature," have any claim 
on the protection of the magistrates and the laws. Penington answers 
that the powers of the State are intended for the benefit of the whole 
nation, including women, children, the sick and aged, and priests, 
" who have ability to fight but are exempted by their function, 
which is not equivalent to the exemption which God makes by the 
law of his Spirit in the heart." Fighting " came in by the Fall," 
so is it not righteous and equitable that the fighting nature should 
come to an end in those redeemed from the Fall, and chosen to be 
examples of peace ? " How can he fight with creatures in whom 
is love and good-will towards those creatures ? . . . Fighting is 
not suitable to a gospel spirit, but to the spirit of the world and the 
children thereof. The fighting in the gospel is turned inward 
against the lusts, and not outward against the creatures." This 
blessed state of outward peace and inward spiritual victory will, 
according to prophecy, some day prevail throughout the world. 
But it must first arise in individuals, and these peaceable folk are 

1 Works, p. 293. 

3 Somewhat spoken to a Weighty Question, concerning the Magistrate's 
protection of the Innocent, wherein is held forth the blessing and peace which 
Nations ought to wait for and embrace in the latter days. With some considera- 
tions for the serious and wise in heart throughout this Nation to ponder for diverting 
God's wrath (if possible) from breaking forth on it. 

Also a brief account of what the people called Quakers desire, in reference to 
the Civil Government. With a few words to such as by the everlasting Arm of 
God's Power have been drawn and gathered out of the Apostacy, into the living 
Truth and Worship. 


not a weakness to the State, but rather a strength. Penington 
presses this argument with great earnestness and animation. 

"When righteousness is brought forth, and when the seed of 
God springs up and flourisheth, that nation grows strong ; and 
instead of the arms and strength of man the eternal strength over- 
spreads that nation, and that Wisdom springs up in the spirits of men, 
which is better than weapons of war ; and the wisdom which is 
from above is pure and peaceable, and teacheth to make peace and 
to remove the cause of contentions and wars, and unites the heart 
to the Lord in waiting upon him for counsel, strength, and preserva- 
tion in this state, who is brought into it. Now is not this much 
better and safer then the present estate of things in the world ? 
First, to have the cause of wars removed, and a sweet, peaceable, 
righteous spirit in the stead thereof ? Secondly, to have a peaceable 
and a righteous generation (whom the Lord hath made and pre- 
served so) breathing to the Lord for peace, good, and prosperity to 
I the nation and the magistrates thereof, and to stretch forth his arm 
to be a defence about them ? Thirdly, to have the God of Heaven 
l engaged by his power to defend that power and magistracy, which 
defends righteousness in general, and particularly his people in their 
obedience unto him, whom it is most righteous for them to obey, 
and for the magistrate (who claims his rule and dominion under 
God) to protect them in ? Were not this much better both for 
magistrates and people than the present state ? " 

The imaginary questioner, passing over the ingenious plea for 
toleration, here objects that " this is a Utopian state, or a world 
in the moon." Penington replies that it is the state foretold in 
divine prophecy. Will it not be happy when it comes to pass ? 
Who would hinder it ? Nay, more, in the early days of Christianity 
this state was in "a fair forwardness," but many generations ago 
the true Church, the Bride of Christ, was driven out into the wilder- 
ness, and a " cruel bloody stepmother " was welcomed by the world 
in her place. And now, after the long night of apostasy, the spirit 
of Christ is awakening again and gathering men together to the 
true Church, making them pure and peaceable. " As the Lord 
does this so will it go on, and the nations, kings, princes, great ones, 
is this principle is raised in them, and the contrary wisdom, the 
earthly policy (which undoes all) brought down, so will they feel 
the blessings of God in themselves, and become a blessing to others." 
This is the only way of healing the grievously distracted nation, 


but man is not ready to learn it until taught in the hard school of 

A new objection, however, is raised. " If all men were of 
this mind, and none would fight ; suppose a nation should be 
invaded, would not the land of necessity be ruined ? " The objection 
is a familiar one to-day, and Penington's answer is worth citing 
at some length : 

" First, whensoever such a thing shall be brought forth in the 
world, it must have a beginning before it can grow and be perfected. 
And where should it begin but in some particulars [individuals] 
in a nation, and so spread by degrees, until it hath overspread the 
nation, and then from nation to nation until the whole earth be 
leavened ? Therefore, whoever desires to see this lovely state 
brought forth in the general, if he would further his own desire, 
must cherish it in the particular. And O that men would not 
spend their strength and hazard the loss of all in cherishing pretences 
and names of Christianity, but would pray to the Lord at length 
to open that eye in them which can see the loveliness of the truth, 
power, and virtue of Christianity, that they might cherish that 
tenderness of conscience wherein the truth grows and springs up 
in its virtue and power." Thus the conversion to a peaceable state 
will not be sudden and catastrophic, but gradual. But, secondly, 
the objection is really based on distrust of God. " It is not for 
a nation (coming into the gospel life and principle) to take care 
beforehand how they shall be preserved, but the gospel will teach 
a nation (if they hearken to it) as well as a particular person to trust 
the Lord, and to wait on him for preservation. Israel of old stood 
not by their strength and wisdom and preparations against their 
enemies, but in quietness and confidence and waiting on the Lord 
for direction (Isa. xxx. 15), and shall not such now, who are true 
Israelites, and have indeed attained to the true gospel state, follow 
the Lord into the peaceable life and spirit of the gospel, unless they 
see by rational demonstration beforehand, how they shall be pre- 
served therein ? I speak not this against any magistrates or peoples 
defending themselves against foreign invasions, or making use of 
the sword to suppress the violent and evil-doers within their borders 
(for this the present state of things doth require, and a great blessing 
will attend the sword where it is borne uprightly to that end, and 
its use will be honourable ; and while there is need of a sword, the 
Lord will not suffer that Government or those governors to want 


fitting instruments under them, for the managing thereof, who wait 
on him in his fear to have the edge of it rightly directed) : but 
yet there is a better state which the Lord hath already brought some 
into, and which nations are to expect and travel towards. Yea, 
it is far better to know the Lord to be the defender, and to wait 
on him daily, and see the need of his strength, wisdom, and preser- 
vation, than to be never so strong and skilful in weapons of war." 
Lastly, Old Testament history gives abundant proof that the 
power of God, and not material force, alone avails to protect and 
defend those that trust in Him. Is the arm of the Lord shortened ? 
" Will he not preserve and defend that nation, whom he first 
teacheth to leave off war, that they shall not be made a prey of, 
while he is teaching other nations the same lesson ? " As he pre- 
served Israel of old in their obedience to him, so can he do now. 
" Consider this " (Penington utters his vehement appeal), " O ye great 
men, O ye wise men, and deep politicians ; all ye have done or can 
ever do in relation to overturning that God hath purposed, what 
are ye therein, or what has your work come to ? It is just like the 
small dust of the balance, it hinders not at all the weight of his 
power on the other hand, but he will carry on his work, bring to 
pass what he hath purposed in himself and promised to his people." 
I The nation " at the bottom " longs for righteousness, and a Govern- 
ment of worldly wisdom and policy can never bring this forth, nor 
the peace that accompanies righteousness. 

The arguments in the second portion of the pamphlet (" Some 
I considerations for the serious and wise in heart throughout the 
j nation ") are chiefly drawn from the desperate state of contemporary 
politics (to which Penington finds parallels in the Apocalypse) and 
; include a reiterated assertion of divine omnipotence. ' Those 
, that fight against the Lamb must needs be overcome by Him, His 
j invisible strength and armies being much stronger than the visible 
armies and all the outward strength of nations, though to the outward 
! eye such may appear very great and invincible." 

The last section, " A brief account of what the people called 
Quakers desire in reference to the Civil Government," contains a 
programme which might have saved Charles and his successor from 
some of their misfortunes. 

" There are three things which we cannot but earnestly desire 
in our hearts, and pray to the Lord for, as the proper means of 
settling aright the spirit of this nation, as also necessary for the 


growth of God's pure living truth and as just and equal in them- 

" i. Universal liberty for all sorts to worship God, according 
as Christ shall open men's eyes to see the truth. . . . 

" 2. That no laws formerly made contrary to the principle of 
equity and righteousmess in man, may remain in force ; nor no 
new ones be made but such as are manifestly agreeable thereunto. . . 

" 3. . . . That no party might be bolstered up in enmity and 
opposition against another, but that every party might be considered, 
in what might be done for their ease and benefit, without detriment 
to any other party. And if I might be hearkened to, I would 
persuade those now in power, not to deal with their enemies as 
they formerly dealt with them, but as they would have been dealt 
with by them when they were in power." 

He earnestly dissuades all people from plots, and begs instead 
their prayers for the new Government. But if its members act 
corruptly and selfishly, plots will be superfluous, " for the Lord 
God Almighty who with ease removed their enemies and made 
way for them can with as great ease remove them and put the power 
into another hand." 

Much of the treatise, Penington adds, was written long since, 
but it is published at this juncture to show the loyalty of his Society 
and issued from his own place of bondage, where he prays " for 
the turning of the captivity of the whole creation." 

Penington's incidental remark that he does not condemn magis- 
trates or a people who defend themselves against foreign invasion 
hardly seems, when read in its context, to bear the weight of meaning 
put upon it by some critics of the Quaker position, even were it 
(what it is not) an official pronouncement by the Society. Penfngton, 
who is addressing the outside public, agrees that defence by force 
of arms is permissible to those who believe that by such methods 
they are fulfilling God's will, " but yet there is a better state, which 
the Lord hath already brought some into, and which nations are to 
expect and travel towards." 

The next peace treatise leads us from politics to mysticism. 
William Smith, of Beesthorp, Notts, suffered much imprisonment 
for his faith. 1 His voluminous works were collected under the title 
Balm in Gilead in 1675, and include two pronouncements on peace. 
The first, published in 1659, was "A right Dividing and a true 
1 He had been an Independent minister and was convinced in 1658. 


Discerning, showing the use of the sword, and how and where it 
is in its place, and what it is to be laid upon." This tract develops 
the favourite theme that the sword's only lawful use is in the 
repression of crime. " To suppress violence, to punish the evil- 
doers, and to rule those that are unruly, disobedient, and disorderly, 
this is manly, and answers the end for which the sword is put in 
their hands." But some have advanced further. To them " the 
use of the sword is not known, they are out of the place of a soldier, 
neither do know a soldier's place, which is under the state of a man, 
violently to kill and destroy each other and know not wherefore. . . . 
They return not to it again, they see a further thing the end of 
that." Soldiers, however, who become convinced of Friends' 
views are not to be hasty, but to consider " whether God hath set 
thee there." God may call some warrior like Cyrus to do his work, 
but that is no concern of those, the " Children of Light," who 
have heard the divine call to turn away from the world. " The 
true minister's work is to bring people to God and to Christ, and 
not to keep people in the world, where the tribulation, wars, and 
fightings is. . . . For where the Spirit of the Lord puts itself 
forth in any measure there will not be a killing, devouring, or taking 
away the lives of men, for he came not to destroy men's lives but 
to save them." And the pamphlet ends with a condemnation of 
the corrupt magistrate, who misuses the civil sword and " lets the 
poor be punished and the rich escape, because he can give money 
to free himself from punishment . . . and if he has not money 
he must be whipt or stockt or go to prison." 

Two years later he was himself a prisoner " in Worcester County 
Gaol ... for obedience to the command of Jesus Christ." There 
he wrote another peace tract, 1 inflamed with a glow of mystical 
fervour. Like many Quaker writers, Smith is too diffuse, but 
for beauty of thought and expression this little-known tract must 
take high rank in the literature of religious experience. It opens 
with a fervent description of the love and mercy of God and of the 
yearning of men's hearts towards him until " the light leads out of 
the earth and all earthly things and leads up to God, the fountain 

1 The Banner of Love under which the Royal Army is preserved and safely 
conducted. Being a clear and perfect way out of all wars and contentions ; with 
a short testimony unto the way of peace. Given forth for the edification and 
comfort of all that truly fear God. Written by the hand of one who bears good-will 
to all men. 


of eternal love, in whose pure presence the fulness of joy is 

And as men learn more of the love of God they enlist under 
him in the war of righteousness. 

" And of the immortal seed is the Royal Army born, and they 
are conquerors through him that loves them and spreads his banner 
over them, and their weapons are love and patience, by which they 
overcome ; and they do not think ill to their neighbours, but love 
their enemies, and are ready to do good to those that are contrary 
minded ; and they would have all come to the love of God, that 
they might be saved. . . . And this is an Army that the Lord 
hath gathered and is gathering from amongst the earthly warriors, 
whose strength is in the horse and his rider, and the Lord God 
puts into their hands the spiritual weapon, and with it they go forth 
to battle, and they seek to save men's lives and not to destroy them." 
It is an army of peace. " The aliens' army draw their swords and 
kill one another ; the Royal Army have put up their swords and 
would have all men saved. And who need to fear such an army, 
whose banner is love, and their weapons good-will ? There need 
no horsemen and strong armies to oppose them, not prisons to quiet 
them, for they are marching under the Banner of Love, and in love 
meet their enemies and quench their fury ; and whatever can be 
done against them love is their Banner, and with it they are wonder- 
fully preserved." In time the army will grow to an overwhelming 
strengh and " war will cease, and cruelty come to an end, and love 
will abound." Those who fight the Lord's battle dare not destroy 
the life of any, for outward weapons cannot establish a spiritual 
kingdom. The argument closes with a direct address to Fifth 
Monarchists and others who rely on force. 

" Now all that are striving and warring and have it in their 
hearts so to do, and thereby think to set up their religion and their 
observations ; or such as expect a time in which Christ will appear 
personally upon the earth to reign, and have in their hearts to 
cut off and destroy the contrary minded, and so by weapons of war 
fight for his kingdom into his dominion, unto such sorts of people 
it is said, Be still and quiet, lest ye put forth your hand to do evil, 
and so provoke the Holy One to anger ; and in your froward minds 
provoke one another, and so kindle wrath and anger one in another. 
From which comes all wars and contentions which is not the way 


in which Christ appears, nor the path in which he leads his Royal 
Army." If men follow the " pure principle of light in their own 
conscience " it will lead them into unity with the spirit of Christ. 
In conclusion, Smith breaks out into a " Short Testimony to the 
Way of Peace," a rhythmic utterance of the deepest spiritual 
experience, only paralleled in Quaker writings by Thomas Story's 
later rhapsodies. 

" The life of Christ is sweet, it is the substance of whatever 
can be spoken of : to inherit a measure of it is joy and peace, and 
the desire of the simple is abundantly satisfied therein. ... It 
hath its course in the valley, and flows in the channel of lowliness ; 
the humble meet it in the way, and in the pure streams they receive 
their portion ; to be low and humble is the way of life, and therein 
do the lambs enjoy their pasture. As it is tasted it draws still after 
it, and the more it is tasted the more it is beloved ; and as it is 
beloved the more it springs, and flows to that which thirsteth, and 
in patience waiting the virtue of it is felt, and the mind sinks down 
more into it, and the delight is in the sweet savour of it. This is 
the way of the humble and this is the path of the lowly mind. . . . 
There is no limitation of its breaking forth, but when and where 
and in whom it pleaseth ; it prepares the vessel for its use and makes 
it honourable in its own holiness. It springs and fills according 
to its pleasure and the vessel must be new that doth contain it." 
The love of God is " a fresh stream that cannot cease its course, 
nor stop its flowing, but must shed itself abroad," and constrains 
those touched by it " to behave themselves in love and tenderness 
to all people ; and in the one Spirit hath the Lord gathered them ; 
and in the one Spirit he hath bound them up, and they are his 
people, and he is their God, and dwells amongst them, and walks 
in them ; and the Prince of Peace orders them, and they are his 
Royal Army in whose Love and Life they stand in unity, and give 
up their bodies and spirits unto God, that his own Will may be done, 
and the intents of his own Heart performed and his own Name 
therein glorified." 

So the gentle prisoner of Worcester Gaol ends. Little more 
is known of his life, but his thoughts must have sunk deep into 
Quaker minds, for the sufferings on peace grounds multiply fast 
after the Restoration. 

The last pamphlet of this early period which deserves notice 


here is a plain statement 1 of the Quaker position and a defence 
of it against popular misconceptions, put forth by William Bayly 
in 1662. Bayly was a sea-captain, convinced in 1655, and often 
imprisoned. He died in 1675. 

The argument follows familiar lines. Friends' principle of 
peace, he says, is everlasting and universal, founded on God himself, 
and " before death, hell, strife, and wars." Being joined to Christ, 
they partake in some measure of the Spirit of Christ which 
" destroys the ground of enmity in man." 2 " We bear good- will 
to all people upon earth, Jew and Gentile, bond and free, barbarians, 
Turks, Indians, Greeks, Romans, English, or any other. God 
hath made us all of one blood to dwell upon the face of the earth. 
We are all of one blood, all the workmanship of one creator." 

This principle is not "an opinion or judgment which may fail 
us, or in which we may be mistaken or doubt, but it is the infallible 
ground and unchangeable foundation of our religion (that is to say) 
Christ Jesus the Lord, that Spirit, Divine nature or Way of Life, 
which God hath raised and renewed in us, in which we walk, and in 
whom we delight to dwell, and cannot but worship and yield obedience 
to." Such a definition of Christ, laying stress rather on divine 
Immanence than on divine Personality, was soon to expose the 
Quakers to charges of heresy. 

Some, remembering the extravagances of Anabaptists and 
Millenarians, feared lest this " spirit " should at times move the 
Quakers to fight. " To which we answer in the fear of God in 
the truth and simplicity of our hearts as it is in Jesus, that we do 
really and confidently believe that the Lord our God (who is that 
good spirit that guides us into all truth) will never move us to do 
that or those things again for which he hath rebuked us. . . . So 
that to us it seemeth as impossible for us to be found in such things 
(plottings, fightings, and violence) as for a good tree to bring forth 
evil fruit, or for one fountain to yield salt water and fresh, for we 

1 A Brief Declaration to all the world from the innocent people of God called 
Quakers, of our principles and belief concerning plottings and fightings, with 
carnal weapons, against any people, men, or nations upon the earth, to take away 
the reproach, or any jealousies out of the minds of all people concerning us in 
this particular and to answer that common objection whether we would not fight 
if the Spirit moved us (D. Tracts, 99, 36). 

* So John Whitehead, an old soldier, writes of his fellow Quakers : " Being 
leavened through with love and mercy, it is against their very nature to revenge 
themselves, or use carnal weapons to kill, hurt, or destroy mankind " (A Small 
Treatise, 1661). 


have felt God's rebukes because of the strong nature that dwelt 
in us, from whence envy, pride, wrath, malice, and heart-burnings 
one against another spring." 

Lest this attitude of peace should lead their enemies to say, 
" We use them as we list without fear," Bayly warns them that 
God will exact an account from all persecutors. And finally he, 
as far as in him lies, clears the Society from any scandal brought 
upon it by pseudo-Quakers. 

" And now if any that hath been at our meetings, or have come 
at any time (as many do) to see our manner, or that may be by 
some called a Quaker, should be (which we have never yet known 
among us) found in any plotting against any men or people what- 
soever, to contrive mischief, danger, or hurt either to body, soul, 
or estate any way under any pretence whatsoever, we do utterly 
(in the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour) deny that part 
or spirit in all men upon the earth, as that which our principle (the 
everlasting foundation of God) and our spirit have no fellowship or 
unity with." 


The foregoing vindications and explanations of the Quaker principle 
had all been short occasional writings, called forth by some emergency. 
The reign of Charles II witnessed the establishment, and in some 
sense the recognition, of the new sect. Its message had spread, 
its organization had developed, and the time was ripe for a fuller 
and more literary statement of its belief and practice. Quakerism 
found its apologist in Robert Barclay, one of the comparatively 
few men of birth and scholarship who joined the Society in its early 
days. Born in 1648, at Gordonstown in Moray, he was the son 
of Colonel David Barclay, a Protestant soldier of fortune in the 
Thirty Years and Civil Wars, and of Catherine Gordon, a distant 
cousin of the house of Stuart. 1 Young Robert, however, was 
educated under a Jesuit uncle, head of the Scots Theological College 
in Paris, and the boy (as he wrote in later years), exposed to Calvinist 
teaching at home and to Catholic in his school days, kept himself 
" free from joining with any sort of people," noticing in all their 
defect in " the principle of love." 

His father had been a lukewarm supporter of the Cromwellian 
rule, but at the Restoration he fell under suspicion, and in 1665 
he was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle. " While in London he 
had often heard of the Quakers, and had been attracted by the prin- 
ciples they taught as well as by their manner of life. He noticed 
that they refused to fight even those who might be called their 
enemies, and that they loved one another. These two facts struck 
him as very remarkable, and he decided that these must be the true 
followers of Christ upon earth, if there were any such." 2 A Quaker, 
John Swinton, was his fellow prisoner, and he soon converted David 

1 See Robert Barclay, by M. C. Cadbury, 19 12. 
3 Ibid., p. 26. 



Barclay to the faith, which he upheld with constancy and courage 
under suffering (as Whittier's ballad * reminds us) for the rest of his 
long life. 

Robert Barclay at first was allowed to visit the prison, and when 
the permission was withdrawn he had learnt enough from Swinton 
to induce him to attend the Friends' Meetings in Edinburgh, 
which, though proscribed, were regularly held. The result he has 
described in a beautiful and familiar passage. In the section of 
his Apology discussing the Quaker mode of worship, he explains, 
with a rare autobiographical touch, that he is speaking out of his 
own experience : " Who, not by strength of argument, or by a 
particular disquisition of each doctrine and convincement of my 
understanding thereby came to receive and bear witness of the 
truth, but by being secretly reached by this life. For when I came 
into the silent assemblies of God's people, I felt a secret power 
among them, which touched my heart, and as I gave way unto it, 
I found the evil weakening in me, and the good raised up, and so 
I became thus knit and united unto them, hungering more and 
more after the increase of this power and life, whereby I might 
feel myself perfectly redeemed." " It must be " (he added) " rather 
by a sensible experience than by arguments, that men can be con- 
vinced of this thing, seeing it is not enough to believe it, if they 
come not also to enjoy and possess it." 2 

Thus, in 1666, as a youth of eighteen, he joined the Society 
of Friends. The rest of his life was consecrated to preaching, 
defending and suffering for what, in his belief, was Divine Truth. 
At first he lived as a peaceful student on his father's estate at Ury, 
doing what he could to maintain the property, for David Barclay 

1 " Barclay of Ury." Alexander Barclay, an ancient Scottish poet, was 
claimed by the house as an ancestor. He left behind him some moral maxims, 
which suit well with the lives of his Quaker descendants. 

" See that thou pass not thy estate ; 
Obey duly thy magistrate ; 
Oppress not, but support the puir, 
To help the commonweal take cuire ; 
Use no deceit ; mell not with treason, 
And to all men do right and reason, 
Both unto word and deed be true ; 
All kind of wickedness eschew. 
Slay no man ; nor thereto consent ; 
Be nought cruel, but patient." 

2 Barclay, Apology, Proposition xi. sec. 7 (Concerning Worship). The whole 
section is of extraordinary force and beauty. 


was not released from prison for some years. Robert Barclay's 
first tract in defence of Quakerism was published in 1670, the year 
of his most happy marriage. Of the twenty years of life before 
him, the next ten were the most eventful. In them he was thrice 
imprisoned for his faith, he published his chief works, and he made 
two missionary journeys to Holland and Germany. The fruit of 
this foreign travel was a close friendship with the learned and 
mystical Princess Elizabeth of the Rhine, the patroness of Descartes 
and cousin of Charles II. Barclay, through his mother, was a 
distant kinsman, but the sympathy between himself and Elizabeth 
was based on a community of thought, and until her death in 1679 
they kept up a frequent correspondence on spiritual themes. The 
Princess must have had little in common with that dashing cavalier 
her brother Rupert, but they were on affectionate terms, and more 
than once she wrote urging him to influence the King to deal more 
leniently with Quakers, especially with Barclay and his friends. 
Barclay also obtained some help from the Duke of York, and their 
acquaintance was maintained during James' Commissionership at 
Holyrood, in spite of the cruel persecution of the Covenanters, 
which Barclay reprobated. In James' reign he was often at Court 
on behalf of his fellow Quakers. It was to him that the King just 
before his flight made the well-known remark that, according to 
the Whitehall weathercock, the wind was fair for William of 
Orange. After the Revolution he naturally fell under suspicion 
for Jacobitism, and was accused of being a disguised Jesuit. He 
wrote in reply a spirited " Vindication," l in which, while dis- 
claiming all sympathy with the doctrines and practice of the Roman 
Church, he admitted that he had personal friends among members 
of that communion, and boldly declared that he had less inclination 
to attack Catholicism in its present adversity than in its days of 
power. Persecution, " the worst part of Popery," comes with an 
ill grace from its opponents ; " to say we are right and they are 
wrong, and therefore we have a right to force their consciences, 
but not they ours, is miserably to beg the question." 

Barclay, and his father before him, had undoubtedly feelings of 
loyalty to the House of Stuart, and to the charge of holding aloof 

1 Reliquia Barcleianite, 1870. Vindication of Robert Barclay of Ury, being 
an explanation by the Apologist of circumstances connected with his intercourse 
with King James II, written in 1689. From an MS. formerly at Ury, 
(lithographed). In D, 


from the change of government he replied : " I never did believe 
nor ever shall, that it is my duty to be active in such a change. . . . 
I shall always hold me by the doctrine of non-resistance and passive 
obedience." Of his feelings towards the fugitive King he wrote 
without disguise. " To do him right, I never found reason to 
doubt his sincerity in the matter of liberty of conscience. ... I 
must own, nor will I decline to avow that I love King James, that 
I wish him well, that I have been and am sensibly touched with 
a feeling of his misfortunes, and that I cannot excuse myself from 
the duty of praying for him that God may bless him and sanctify 
this affliction to him. And if so be his will to take from him an 
earthly crown, he may prepare his heart and direct his steps so that 
he may obtain through mercy an heavenly one, which all good 
Christians judge the most preferable." 

Holding these sentiments, he was naturally not regarded with 
favour under the new reign, and he spent the short remainder of his 
life quietly on his estate of Ury. He was not yet forty-two when 
he was struck down by a fatal illness. Among his last words were : 
" God is good still ; and though I am under a great weight of 
sickness and weakness as to my body, yet my peace flows." He died 
on October 3, 1690. 

Three of Barclay's works bear directly on the subject of peace. 
The Apology for the True Christian Divinity, published in 1676, 
deals at length with the whole body of Quaker doctrine and practice, 
including the testimony against all wars. In the winter of 16767 
he was imprisoned, with other Quakers, in the Tolbooth of Aberdeen 
for some months. During this time he wrote the treatise on 
Universal Love, a protest to all Christians against any form of 
persecution or war. The following year, 1678, he dispatched 
an Epistle to the representatives of the Powers assembled for peace 
negotiations at Nimeguen, expounding to them the " means for a 
firm and settled peace." Thus, in three years, a distinct advance 
had been made. Earlier writers had contented themselves with 
defending Quaker peaceableness against misunderstanding and 
misrepresentation in times of special crisis. Barclay first showed 
it in its true relation to their whole body of belief, then urged it 
on his fellow Christians as an essential part of Christianity, and 
finally he made a definite effort towards the restoration of peace 
to the war-ravaged countries of Europe. Had he lived longer he 
might have been able to share with Penn in a new development, 


the government of a State according to the principles of Friends. 
In his later years he did actually join in the colonization of East 
Jersey, founded, mainly by Friends, on the principle of toleration, 
and was appointed its nominal governor, paying a deputy. From 
David Barclay his son had learned much of the horrors perpetrated 
by all the contending parties in the Thirty Years War, and of the 
sufferings endured even in the milder campaigns of our own Civil 
War, while the Low Countries and Westphalia, during Robert 
Barclay's visits, bore plain traces of the devastations caused by the 
war between Louis XIV and the Dutch. In all his writings on 
the subject his position is the same. His firm conviction that war 
and Christianity are irreconcilable and that force is ineffectual to 
change opinion or belief, gives him an especial horror of the religious 
motive so loudly trumpeted in the wars of his day and of the action 
of religious leaders in fomenting war. He has a burning pity for 
the mass of innocent suffering created by any war, and for the great 
armies automatically driven to mutual slaughter at the will of a few 
statesmen. To him the only remedy lies in the awakening of the 
individual conscience and the revival of true Christianity. The 
Society of Friends had made this attempt, but the world had received 
its teaching with persecution and contumely. Thus he links together 
an apology for Quakerism and a plea for the abolition of war. Into 
the Apology Barclay put all the learning and power of exposition 
which he possessed. The foundations of his theological knowledge 
had been well laid at the Scots College, and the edifice was built 
up by years of patient study. William Penn in his writings shows 
a wider and more liberal culture, but in divinity Barclay had few 
rivals at his age, and he employs his knowledge of patristic and 
mediaeval writers with great aptness and facility. The learned 
John Norris, one of the Cambridge Platonists and a weighty opponent 
of Quakerism, pays Barclay sincere and ungrudging compliments. 
" Mr. Barclay is a very great man, and were it not for that common 
prejudice that lies against him as being a Quaker, would be as sure 
not to fail of that character in the world as any of the finest wits 
this age has produced." Again, " That great and general con- 
tempt they lie under, does not hinder me from thinking the sect 
of the Quakers to be by far the most considerable of any that divide 
from us, in case the Quakerism that is generally held be the same 
with that which Mr. Barclay has delivered to the world as such ; 
whom I take to be so great a man, that I profess to you freely, I 


had rather engage against an hundred Bellarmins, Hardings, or 
Stapyltons, than with one Barclay." * 

Later the Apology received the hearty praise of Voltaire, both 
for its argument and its latinity. For it was first published in the 
universal tongue of scholars, though it soon was translated into the 
chief European languages. In the business records of the Society 
for the next hundred years there appear many arrangements for the 
publication and distribution of foreign editions of the Apology, as 
the best handbook to Quaker faith and practice. The original 
Latin edition appeared at Amsterdam in 1676, during Barclay's 
travels in Holland. Two years later the first English edition was 
published. The book is an expansion of or commentary upon 
fifteen Theses Theologica published by Barclay a year or two earlier, 
also in Latin, and these, in their turn, are to some extent based on 
the order of the propositions in the Westminster Confession. Hence 
it comes about that War is treated of, oddly enough, under Propo- 
sition XV, " Of Salutations and Recreations." An address to the 
King, prefixed to the Apology, is couched in terms very unlike those 
in which authors usually presented their treatises to the favour of 
Charles II. 

" It is far from me to use this Epistle as an engine to flatter 
thee, the usual design of such works, and therefore I can neither 
dedicate it to thee nor crave thy patronage, as if thereby I might 
have more confidence to present it to the world, or be more hopeful 
of its success. . . . But I found it upon my spirit to take occasion 
to present this book unto thee ; that . . . thou mayest not want 
a seasonable advertisement from a member of thine ancient kingdom 
of Scotland." If Charles can allow himself " so much time as to 
read this," he will discover the consonance of Friends' principles 
with " scripture, truth, and right reason." Addressing himself to 
the King as to one who had known intolerance and hardship, Barclay 
pleads against the persecution of the Restoration. His criticism of 
the Civil War is interesting : " As the vindication of liberty of 
conscience (which thy father . . . sought in some part to restrain) 
was a great occasion of the troubles and revolutions ; so the pretence 
of conscience was that which carried it on, and brought it to that 
pitch it came to. And though (no doubt) some that were engaged 
in that work, designed good things, at least in the beginning (albeit 

1 Two Treatises Concerning the Divine Light, by John Norris, M.A., 1692. 
Treatise Two. (The Grossness of the Quakers' Principle of the Light Within, pp. 1,32.) 


always wrong in the manner they took to accomplish it, viz. by 
carnal weapons ) yet so soon as they had tasted of the sweet of the 
possessions of them they had turned out, they quickly began to do 
those things themselves, for which they had accused others " Charles 
himself was restored to his throne " without stroke of sword," by 
a manifest working of divine providence. 

" There is no king in the world who can so experimentally 
testify of God's providence and goodness ; neither is there any 
who rules so many free people, so many true Christians : which 
thing renders thy government more honourable, thyself more con- 
siderable, than the accession of many nations filled with slavish 
and superstitious souls. Thou hast tasted of prosperity and adversity ; 
thou knowest what it is to be banished from thy native country, to 
be over-ruled as well as to rule, and sit upon the throne ; and being 
oppressed, thou hast reason to know how hateful the oppression 
is both to God and man, if after all these warnings and advertise- 
ments thou doest not turn unto the Lord with all thy heart, but 
forget him, who remembered thee in thy distress, and give up thyself 
to follow lust and vanity surely great will be thy condemnation." 

In Proposition XV Barclay asserts as a definite tenet of the 
Society and in so many words that " it is not lawful for Christians 
to resist evil, or to war or fight in any case." " Revenge and war," 
he writes, " are an evil as contrary to the spirit and doctrine of 
Christ as light to darkness. . . . The world is filled with violence, 
oppression, murders, ravishing of women and virgins, spoilings, 
depredations, burnings, devastations, and all manner of lasciviousness 
and cruelty." He refers to the early fathers and to mediaeval com- 
mentators in proof that both oaths and war, though permitted to 
the Jews, were forbidden to the early Christians, and that the Church 
observed these prohibitions for the first three hundred years of her 
existence. " For it is as easy to reconcile the greatest contradic- 
tions, as these laws of our Lord Jesus Christ with the wicked, 
practices of wars. Whoever can reconcile this, ' Resist not evil,' 
with ' Resist violence by force ' ; again ' Give also thy other cheek,' 
with ' Strike again ' ; also ' Love thine enemies,' with ' Spoil them, 
make a prey of them, pursue them with fire and sword ' ; or ' Pray 
for them that persecute you, and those that calumniate you,' with 
' Persecute them by fines, imprisonments, and death itself ; and 
not only such as do not persecute you, but who heartily seek and 
desire your eternal and temporal welfare : Whoever, I say, can 


find a means to reconcile these things, may be supposed also to have 
found a way to reconcile God with the Devil, Christ with anti- 
Christ, light with darkness, and good with evil. But if this be 
impossible as indeed it is, so will also the others be impossible ; and 
men do but deceive themselves and others, while they boldly adven- 
ture to establish such absurd and impossible things." Barclay then 
goes on to take some of the familiar sayings of Christ and the 
Apostles, and to contrast them with the practices of war. For 
example : " Christ commands that we should ' love our enemies ' ; 
but war, on the contrary, teacheth us to hate and destroy them. . . 
Christ calls his children to ' bear his cross,' not to crucify or kill 
others ; to ' patience ' not to ' revenge ' : to truth and simplicity 
not to fraudulent stratagems of war, or to play the sycophant, which 
John himself forbids ; to flee the glory of this world, not to acquire 
it by warlike endeavour : therefore war is altogether contrary unto 
the law and spirit of Christ." 

Barclay then meets the objections of his opponents who wish 
to reconcile Christianity and war. First they bring forward the 
familiar appeal to Old Testament precedents. His reply, in brief, 
is that the Old Testament dispensation has passed away in all its 
details, and Christ's followers have learnt a purer and more spiritual 
religion. Secondly, " they object that defence is of natural right, 
and that religion destroys not nature. I answer, Be it so ; but 
to obey God, and commend ourselves to him in faith and patience 
is not to destroy nature, but to exalt and perfect it." 

A more trivial objection is based on John the Baptist's admonition 
to the soldiers, and Barclay treats it almost contemptuously. 

" I answer, what then ? The question is not concerning John's 
doctrine, but Christ's, whose disciples we are, not John's. . . 
If it be narrowly minded, it will appear that what he proposeth 
to soldiers doth manifestly forbid them that employment. For 
he commands them ' not to do violence to any man, nor to defraud 
any man, but that they be content with their wages.' Consider 
then what he dischargeth to soldiers, viz. not to use violence or 
deceit against any ; which being removed, let any tell how soldiers 
can war. For is not craft, violence, and injustice, three properties 
of war, and the natural consequence of battles ? " To the instances 
of the devout centurions of the Gospels and the Acts, Barclay opposes 
the admitted practice of the Early Church. " It is as easy to 
obscure the sun at mid-day as to deny that the primitive Christians 


renounced all revenge and war." " Yet it is as well known " 
(he continues) " that all the modern sects live in the neglect and 
contempt of this law of Christ, and likewise oppress others, who 
in this agree not with them for conscience' sake towards God. 
Even as we have suffered much in our country, because we neither 
could ourselves bear arms, nor send others in our place, nor give 
our money for the buying of drums, standards, and other military 
attire. 1 And lastly, because we could not hold our doors, windows, 
and shops close, for conscience' sake, upon such days as fasts and 
prayers were appointed, for to desire a blessing upon, and success 
for the arms of the kingdom or commonwealth under which we 
live, neither give thanks for the victories acquired by the effusion 
of much blood." 

The idea of Christians in the different warring nations imploring 
their God for " contrary and contradictory things " always struck 
Barclay with peculiar horror, and here he turns aside to reproach 
another sect opposed to war (probably the Baptists) for its conformity 
on these days of prayer and thanksgiving. 

The passage concerning two swords (Luke xxii. 36) is frequently 
cited as a proof of the lawfulness of arms. Barclay frankly admits 
that its meaning is difficult and has been variously interpreted. 
" However " (he adds sturdily) " it is sufficient that the use of arms 
is unlawful under the Gospel." The next objection raises the 
whole question of the rights of the State over the individual. " They 
object, that the Scriptures and old fathers (so called) did only prohibit 
private revenge, not the use of arms for the defence of our country, 
body, wives, children, and goods, when the magistrate commands 
it, seeing the magistrate ought to be obeyed. Therefore albeit it 
be not lawful for private men to do it of themselves, nevertheless 
they are bound to do it by the command of the magistrate." 

Barclay replies that this contention presupposes that the magis- 
trate is himself not truly Christian, and he quotes a strong passage 
from Vives 2 on the corruption induced by Constantine's union of 
Christian profession with military power : " He came into the house 
of Christ accompanied by the devil." In such a case the Quaker, 
and those who think with him, must obey God rather than man. 

' This is the " Trophy Money " ; distraints and imprisonments for its non- 
payment are often recorded among early " sufferings." 

* A Spanish theologian and opponent of Scholasticism, a friend and corre- 
spondent of Erasmus. 


" As to what relates to the present magistrates of the Christian 
world, albeit we deny them not altogether the name of Christians, 
because of the public profession they make of Christ's name ; yet 
we may boldly affirm that they are far from the perfection of the 
Christian religion." In this imperfect state, resembling that of 
the Jews, " we shall not say that war undertaken upon a just occasion 
is altogether unlawful to them, but for such whom Christ hath 
brought hither, it is not lawful to defend themselves by arms, but 
they ought, over all, to trust to the Lord." 

The imperfect Christians who are " yet in the mixture " cannot, 
he quaintly says, " be undefending themselves." This very qualified 
permission of defensive war for the professing Christian may be 
contrasted with Penington's somewhat more emphatic toleration 
fifteen years earlier. For the Quaker, Barclay's condemnation of 
war is unhesitating. 

" If to revenge ourselves, or to render injury, evil for evil or 

wound for wound, to take eye for eye, tooth for tooth ; if to fight 

for outward and perishing things, to go a-warring one against another 

whom we never saw, nor with whom we never had any contest 

nor anything to do ; being moreover altogether ignorant of the 

cause of the war, but only that the magistrates of the nations foment 

quarrels one against another, the causes whereof are for the most 

part unknown to the soldiers that fight, as well as upon whose side 

the right or wrong is ; and yet to be so furious and rage one against 

another, to destroy and spoil all that this or the other worship may 

be received or abolished if to do this and much more of this 

kind be to fulfil the law of Christ, then are our adversaries indeed 

true Christians, and we miserable heretics, that suffer ourselves to 

be spoiled, taken, imprisoned, banished, beaten, and evilly entreated 

without any resistance, placing our trust only in God, that he may 

defend us and lead us by the way of the Cross unto his kingdom. 

But if it be other ways we shall receive the reward which the Lord 

hath promised to those that cleave to him, and in denying themselves 

confide in him." 

The abhorrence of all attempts to propagate opinion by force, 
whether through war or persecution, was deep-rooted in Barclay's 
nature. In the Apology he meets the objection of those who argued 
that the doctrine of the divine light would lead men into anarchic 
frenzies like the excesses of the Munster Anabaptists by the bold 
reminder that " as bad, if not worse, things have been committed 


by those that lean to tradition, Scripture, and reason. ... I need 
but mention all the tumults, seditions, and horrible bloodshed where- 
with Europe hath been afflicted these divers ages ; in which Papists 
against Papists, Calvinists against Calvinists, Lutherans against 
Lutherans, and Papists assisted by Protestants against other Pro- 
testants assisted by Papists, have miserably shed one another's blood, 
hiring and forcing men to kill one another, who were ignorant of 
the quarrel and strangers to one another. All, meanwhile, pre- 
tending reason for so doing, and pleading the lawfulness of it from 
scripture." Barclay concludes the argument by a spirited sketch 
of the rival sects with their several reasons for killing their wicked 
and profane opponents. 

His own view of the rights of the individual conscience is given 
in the Fourteenth Proposition of Theses Theologicce, " concerning 
the power of the civil magistrate in matters purely religious and 
pertaining to the conscience." 

" Since God hath assumed to himself the power and dominion 
of the conscience, who alone can rightly instruct and govern it ; 
therefore it is not lawful for any whatsoever, by virtue of any 
authority or principality they bear in the government of this world 
to force the consciences of others ; and therefore all killing, banish- 
ing, fining, imprisoning, and other such things which men are 
afflicted with for the alone exercise of their conscience, or difference 
in worship or opinion, proceedeth from the spirit of Cain, the 
murderer, and is contrary to the truth ; provided always, that no 
man, under the pretence of conscience, prejudice his neighbour 
in his life or estate, or do anything destructive to or inconsistent 
with humane society ; in which case the law is for the transgressor, 
and justice to be administered to all, without respect of persons." 

Any Church, he contends (in the chapter of the Apology which 
expands this thesis) has the right of spiritual discipline, including 
the excommunication of the obstinate backslider, but " we would 
not have men hurt in their temporals, nor robbed of their privileges 
as men and members of the commonwealth, because of their inward 
persuasions." Bodily suffering never brings conviction ; argument, 
reason, and the power of God alone can do this : " not knocks and 
blows and suchlike things, which may well destroy the body but 
never can inform the soul, which is a free agent, and must either 
accept or reject matters of opinion as they are borne in upon it by 
something proportioned to its own nature." This argument is as 


old as Socrates and Plato, but was heretical enough to the Christian 
world of Barclay's day, to each section of which freedom of opinion 
meant freedom for its own views and suppression of those repugnant 
to itself. Such a policy, he reminds them, may make hypocrites, 
but not Christians, and in a pregnant sentence he declares that 
" the ground of persecution is an unwillingness to suffer" Men 
cannot hold their own belief with unshaken confidence if they 
expect that suffering will induce others to abandon theirs. The 
patient and peaceable endurance of the early Friends had already 
proved the most effective way of meeting persecution, since it 
touched the hearts of those engaged in the work, and " made their 
chariot wheels go very heavily." The proviso that freedom of 
conscience should not involve anything " destructive to or incon- 
sistent with humane society " was seized upon by critics of the 
Apology, who argued that the refusal to bear arms is itself inimical 
to the safety of society. This charge has often been levelled against 
the Quakers, as it was, by Celsus, against the early Christians. 

In 1679 Barclay wrote a short reply * to one John Brown, who 
had published a vehement attack on the Apology and on the whole 
body of Quakers. In regard to wars, " he chargeth us " (says 
Barclay) " with a bloody design ... by disarming Christians [to] 
give up Christendom as a prey to Turks and Pagans. To which 
I shall only answer : that as it is obviously enough malitious, so he 
shall never prove it true : and therefore I wish the Lord rebuke 
him, and forgive him for these his evil thoughts ! " Brown's 
further remarks on the necessity of defensive war are " more like 
an atheist than a Christian, and like one who believeth nothing 
of a divine providence." Such arguments can never " brangle 
the faith " of true believers or make them think " they are less 
secure under the protection of the Almighty than by their guns 
and swords." " How men can love their enemies, and yet kill 
and destroy them is more than I can reach ; but if it were so, such 
as rather suffer than do it do surely more love them, and to do so 
is no injury to ourselves nor neighbours, when done out of conscience 
towards God." Brown believes in the prophecy of an age of universal 
peace and " thinks fit there should be a praying for the fulfilling 
of it : and what, if some believe, that (as to some) there is a beginning 
already of the fulfilling thereof?" Thus Barclay virtually adopts 

1 R.B.'s Apology for the True Christian Divinity Vindicated from John Broivn's 



the position of Penington, that the conscience of the individual 
or the minority must often be in advance of that of the majority, 
and that ideal Christianity will be established by gradual stages, 
not by a cataclysmic conversion of humanity. His next treatise 
was written in his prison in the Aberdeen Tolbooth during the 
winter of 1676-7. It is curious to note that both Penington's 
peace tract and Smith's Banner of Love were also written in prison. 
The " dens " of the Stuart reigns inspired the Bedford tinker with 
his immortal dream, and the quantity of Quaker writings of all 
kinds originating from prisons shows how much of the seventeenth- 
century Quaker's life was spent there. No doubt the tedium and 
discomfort drove the more educated to the solace of composition, 
as it forced the more practical minded, like Thomas Ellwood, to the 
tailoring of red flannel waistcoats. 1 

Universal Love is " a serious inquiry how far charity may 
and ought to be extended towards persons of different judgments 
in matters of religion " by " a lover of the souls of all men." The 
plea for a practical application of the spirit of love among the divers 
sects of Christians is urged with fervour and cogency. Barclay 
tells how his early experience of Presbyterian and Catholic impressed 
him with their mutual intolerance. He brushes aside with contempt 
all pleas for coercion. To rob a man of life, goods, or liberty, or of 
" the very common and natural benefits of the creation " and to 
say " thou dost it for good, and out of the love thou bearest to my 
soul is an argument too ridiculous to be answered, unless the so 
doing did infallibly produce always a change in judgment : the 
very contrary whereof experience has abundantly shown." He 
again dwells with horror on the " bloody tragedy " of the Civil 
War, arising so largely from religious dissensions and " fomented 
from the very pulpits." No doubt Barclay himself in childhood 
had heard some of these war sermons, and in his thoughtful youth 
the contrast between the Gospel and its expounders struck him with 
unpleasant force, while he himself was gradually attaining to the 
conviction he here beautifully expresses, that " God being the 
Fountain and Author of Love, no man can extend true Christian 
love beyond his ; yea, the greatest and highest love of any man 
falls infinitely short of the love of God, even as far as a little drop 
of water falls short of the vast ocean." Turning to the Quakers, 
he claims that they, more than any other sect, attempt to practise 

1 Ellwood, Journal. 


this universal love, and in a brief sketch of the origin of the Society 
(which has interesting resemblances to that in Penn's well-known 
essay prefixed to George Fox's Journal) he shows to what this 
characteristic should be attributed. " Friends," he says, " were 
not gathered together by a unity of opinion, or by a tedious and 
particular disquisition of notions and opinions, requiring an assent 
to them, and binding themselves by Leagues and Covenants thereto ; 
but the manner of their gathering was by a secret want, which many 
truly tender and serious souls in sundry sects found in themselves : 
which put each sect upon the search of something beyond all opinion 
which might satisfy their weary souls, even the revelation of God's 
righteous judgment in their hearts. . . . And so many came to 
be joined and united together in heart and spirit in this one Life 
of righteousness who had long been wandering in the several sects ; 
and by the inward unity came to be gathered in one body, from 
whence by degrees they came to find themselves agreed in the plain 
and simple doctrines of Christ. And as this inward power they 
longed for, and felt to give them victory over sin, and bring the 
peace that follows thereon, was that whereby they were brought 
into that unity and community together ; so they came first thence 
to accord in the universal preaching of this power to all, and in 
directing all unto it, which is their first and chiefest principle, and 
most agreeable to this Universal Love." One of the chief signs 
among Friends, he continues, of this principle of Universal Love, 
" which necessarily supposeth and includes love to enemies," is their 
refusal to reconcile Christianity with war or forcible resistance to injury. 
" He that will beat, kill, and every way he can destroy his enemy, 
does but foolishly contradict himself if he pretend to love him." 

In the summer of 1677 Barclay had visited Holland and 
Germany in the company of Fox, Penn, and other Friends, and had 
seen the devastation and suffering left by war. His experience 
bore fruit during that autumn in an address to the plenipotentiaries 
who had been already negotiating terms of peace at Nimeguen for 
more than two years. The address in polished Latin, and the 
Latin edition of the Apology, were delivered to each Ambassador, 
possibly by one of the Dutch Friends, in February 1678. 1 The 

1 The full title is " An Epistle of Love and Friendly Advice to the Ambassadors 
of the several Princes of Europe, met at Nimeguen to consult the Peace of Christen- 
dom, so far as they are concerned. Wherein the True Cause of the present War is 
discovered, and the Right Remedy and Means for a firm and settled Peace is, 


war had begun in 1672, and was an attempt on the part of Louis XIV 
to subjugate the United Provinces. The courage and wary sagacity 
of William of Orange and his people eventually frustrated the 
scheme, but the wider questions of European policy involved had 
brought about curious alliances during the course of hostilities. 
Protestant Sweden had helped Catholic France, and Charles II 
had employed the English Fleet on Louis's behalf, much against 
the will of the English people. On the other hand, the Emperor, 
German rulers, Denmark, and even Spain, had taken Holland's 
side, or rather the side opposed to France. The Epistle opens with 
a graceful apology for his intervention. Let it not seem strange 
to them, men chosen for their wisdom and prudence, " to be 
addressed by one who by the world may be esteemed weak and 
foolish ; whose advice is not ushered unto you by the commission 
of any of the princes of this world, nor seconded by the recom- 
mendation of any earthly state. For since your work is that which 
concerns all Christians, why may not every Christian who feels 
himself stirred up of the Lord thereunto, contribute therein ? And 
if they have place to be heard in this affair, who come in the name 
of kings and princes, let it not seem heavy unto you to hear him 
that comes in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who in the truest 
sense is the Head and Governor and chief Bishop of the Church, 
the Most truly Christian and Catholic King ; many of whose subjects 
are concerned in this matter." Yet, though claiming this divine 
commission for his arguments, Barclay is content to leave the proof 
of their truth " to the holy and pure witness of God in all your 
consciences, to be received or rejected by you as it shall there be 
approved or not approved." 

He has been, he tells the Ambassadors, under a deep sense of 
the sufferings of Christendom, and " being last summer in Holland 
and some parts of Germany the burthen thereof fell often upon 
me, and it several times came before me to write unto you what 
I then saw and felt from God of those things," but he waited until 

proposed, by R. Barclay. A Lover and Traveller for the Peace of Christendom, 
which was delivered to them in Latin, the 23rd and 24th days of the month called 
February, 1677-8, and now published in English for the satisfaction of such as 
understand not the language (Psalms ii. 10)." A postscript gives a list of 
the assembled delegates, " the Ambassadors of the Emperor, of the Kings of Great 
Britain, Spain and France, Sweden and Denmark, of the Prince Rector Palatine, 
as also of the States General, and of the Dukes of Lorraine, Holstein, Luxemburg, 
Osnaburg, Hanover, and the Pope's Nuncio." 


the call, on his return to Scotland, became clearer and more insistent. 
The cause of " all this mischief and confusion and desolation " 
originates from the " Author of all Mischief." Human designs 
and ambitions may be the immediate cause, and the peace settlement 
may attempt to meet these (on the approved principles of diplomacy) 
" by giving way to some and taking from others according as they 
are more or less formidable and considerable," but such methods 
can only bring about a temporary peace. " Those called Chris- 
tians . . . are only such in name, and not in nature, having only 
a form and profession of Christianity in show and words, but are 
still strangers, yea, and enemies to the life and virtue of it ; owning 
God and Christ in words, but denying them in works." The 
want of Christian virtue, notably at the Courts of Christian princes 
(" nests of vilest vermin "), dishonours the name of Christian in the 
eyes of the heathen nations. And these rulers in their relations of 
State are equally far from true Christianity. 

" Upon every slender pretext such as their own small discon- 
tents, or that they judge the present peace they have with their 
neighbours cannot suit with their grandeur and wordly glory, they 
sheath their swords in one another's bowels ; ruin, waste, and 
destroy whole countries ; expose to the greatest misery many 
thousand families ; make thousands of widows and ten thousands 
of orphans ; cause the banks to overflow with the blood of those 
for whom the Lord Jesus shed his precious blood ; and spend and 
destroy many of the good creatures of God. And all this while 
they pretend to be followers of the lamb-like Jesus, who came not 
to destroy men's lives but to save them, the song of whose appearance 
to the world was, ' Glory to God in the highest, and good will and 
peace to all men ' : not to kill, murder, and destroy men ; not to 
hire and force poor men to run upon and murder one another, 
merely to satisfy the lust and ambition of great men ; they being 
often times ignorant of the ground of the quarrel, and not having 
the least occasion of evil or prejudice against those their fellow 
Christians whom they thus kill ; amongst whom not one of a 
thousand perhaps ever saw one another before." 

" Is it not so ? " asks Barclay, in conclusion to this spirited 
picture of the horrors of war. To him the position of the clergy 
(" for the most part the greatest promoters and advisers of these 
wars ") is especially horrible, and their prayers and thanksgivings 
for the destruction of brother Christians seem nothing better than 


blasphemy. In the shifting tangle of alliances, all bonds of religious 
fellowship are broken, French Catholics and Huguenots praying for 
the defeat of Spanish Catholics and Dutch Protestants, and other 
paradoxical situations arising, of which Barclay could find examples 
enough and to spare in the existing war. 

" The ground then of all this," he reiterates, " is the want of 
true Christianity the proud, ambitious, Luciferian nature that 
sets princes and States at work to contrive and foment wars, and 
engages people to fight together, some for ambition and vain glory, 
and some for covetousness and hope of gain. And the same cause 
doth move the clergy to concur with their share in making their 
prayers turn and twine, and so all are out from the state of true 
Christianity." Yet all claim to have a truly Christian desire for 
peace, although the very peace they succeed in making belies their 
claim. " How is peace brought about ? Is it not when the 
weaker is forced to give way to the stronger, without respect to 
the equity of the cause ? Is not this known and manifest in many, 
if not most of the pacifications that have been made in Chris- 
tendom ? " 

Here Barclay turns aside for a moment to explain that he is no 
Anarchist or Ranter, but has a due respect for authority. " Yet 
nevertheless, I judge it no prejudice to magistracy nor injury to 
any for one that is called of the Lord Jesus to appear in this affair, 
for he is not a little concerned his authority has been contemned ; 
his law broken ; his life oppressed ; his standard of peace pulled 
down and rent ; his government encroached upon : (what shall 
I say ?) his precious blood shed, and himself afresh crucified, and 
put to open shame by the murders and cruelties that have attended 
those wars." 

Unless the negotiators bear these things in mind their efforts 
for a lasting peace will not avail. They may bring the warring 
potentates to be " good friends and dear allies," but when a pretext 
for war appears " all your articles will not bind them, but they will 
break them like straws." Strong rulers may not even trouble to 
find a pretext other than the assertion " that to be at peace is no 
longer consistent with their glory." The evil passions that are the 
cause of war must be quelled before peace can be established. 
Worldly wisdom cannot accomplish this, rather it finds its work 
in the incitement to war. 

" Let me exhort you then seriously to examine yourselves by 


the light of Jesus Christ in you, that can alone discover unto you 
your own hearts, and will not flatter you (as men may) whether 
you be fit for this work you are set about ? " This divine light 
and peaceable spirit alone can guide them in the settlement of peace, 
and Barclay relates how it has led Friends in the past. 

" Many of them, who have been wise according to the wisdom 
of the world, have learned to lay it down at the feet of Jesus, that 
they might receive from him of his pure and heavenly wisdom ; 
being contented in the enjoyment of that by the world to be 
accounted fools. And also many of them who were fighters, and 
even renowned for their skill and valour in warring, have come 
by the influence of this pure light to beat their swords into plough- 
shares and their spears into pruning-hooks, and not to learn carnal 
war any more, being redeemed from the lusts from which the 
fighting comes. And there are thousands whom God hath brought 
here already, who see to the end of all contention and strife, and 
that for which the world contends, and albeit the Devil be angry 
at them because he knows they strike at the very root and founda- 
tion of his kingdom in men's hearts by a patient enduring in the 
spirit of Jesus, they do and shall overcome." But to clear their 
minds of the calumnies attached to such doctrines, Barclay sends 
them the Apology, to be read and considered by them and the princes 
they represent, that they may learn the principles which would 
bring " peace and quietness and felicity to all, both outward and 
inward. And so his conscience is discharged in love to their souls 
and for the common peace and good of Christendom." 

Several treaties were concluded between the separate belligerents 
during the year 1678, and hostilities ceased for the time, but 
Barclay's predictions were more than fulfilled. Although Louis 
had attained much military glory, he had failed in his aim the 
conquest of the Netherlands, and the latter State had not shown 
sufficient strength to remove the fear of a fresh attack. As for 
the other Powers, a modern historian writes : " The concert of 
Europe was partial and ill-cemented and, although peace had been 
made, could not be other than short-lived, in face of the jealousies 
of the various States, which the fear of France had temporarily 
united." " It was," says another, " an armed truce rather than a 
permanent settlement of differences." l 

The influence of Barclay on the non-Quaker world was chiefly 
Cambridge Modern History, v. 46 and 165. 


exerted through the Apology. It is not too much to say that for the 
next hundred years inquirers into the Quaker doctrines were 
referred to that work for satisfaction. Voltaire read it, apparently 
in the Latin version, during his residence in England, and quoted 
with approval from the section on War. The strong wave of 
Evangelicism which passed over a portion of the Society in the 
early nineteenth century led to some depreciation of early Quaker 
writings, on the ground that their teaching as to the divinity and 
redemptive power of Christ was insufficiently clear. One result 
was to depose the Apology from its quasi-authoritative position a 
result not to be deplored in so far as it emphasized the truth that 
the Society of Friends is a living organism which gives no unques- 
tioning allegiance either to tradition or the written word. But 
Barclay's application of the religious principles of the Society to 
practical life, including the question of war, has always remained 
in harmony with the convictions of the great bulk of its members. 



William Penn, Oxford scholar and fine gentleman, son of Admiral 
Penn (who was a servant first of the Commonwealth and later of 
Charles II) seemed a most unlikely subject for conversion to 
Quakerism. Yet, even in his schoolboy and student days he had 
attended Friends' Meetings, where the preaching of Thomas Loe 
had deeply affected him and, his zeal outrunning his wisdom, some 
breach of University regulations led to his removal from Oxford. 1 
A course of foreign travel and study was intended to cure his 
" notions," and he seemed in Pepys' eyes Frenchified enough 
when he returned to London to attend the Court and read a little 
law. In 16667 ne was sent over to transact some business on his 
father's Irish estates. At Cork he attended a Friends' Meeting, 
where his old friend, Thomas Loe, spoke on the theme of " the faith 
that overcometh the world and the faith that is overcome by the 
world." As he listened the young man of twenty-two made his 
life's decision. It is worth noting that on this visit to Ireland he 
took part in an attack on some " rebels," or mutinous soldiers, and 
was offered a commission by the Duke of Ormonde. The one 
authentic portrait, which dates from this period, shows a handsome 
youth in a suit of armour. Prison, for attending the Cork meetings, 
was at once his lot, but powerful friends secured his release. He 
returned to England a Quaker, to meet the pathetic and puzzled 
opposition of his father. Soon he visited the Tower and Newgate 
for publishing and preaching the new heresy. The trial of Penn 
and Mead in 1670 is famous for its incidental establishment of the 

1 S. Janney, Life of Penn, is a full and trustworthy memoir. Joseph Besse 
wrote a valuable account of Penn, as preface to the 1726 edition of his Works. 
Principal J. W. Graham's volume, William Penn, deals especially fully with his 
early life and his writings. 



right of juries to return a free verdict. 1 In the same year his 
father died, after learning to respect his son's new creed. 3 Penn's 
missionary tour with Barclay and Fox in Holland and Germany 
has already been mentioned. The sufferings of Friends in England 
turned his mind to the refuge of the New World. With Barclay 
and a number of other Friends, he acquired the proprietorship of 
New Jersey. In 1681 he received from the Crown, in settle- 
ment of debts due to his father, the grant of wide territories further 
up the Delaware ; next year he established the province of 
Pennsylvania, the " holy experiment " in Quaker government 
and liberty of conscience. The story of Pennsylvanian policy in 
peace and war is told in another chapter. After his return to 
England, he was a shocked and unwilling spectator of the cruelties 
which followed the Monmouth rebellion ; he used his undoubted 
influence with James II (an old friend of the Admiral) to free his 
fellow Quakers from their prisons, and he supported and welcomed 
the Declaration of Indulgence. The King even employed him as 
an emissary to William of Orange, but after the Revolution he 
fell (unjustly) under suspicion of conspiracy to restore James, and 
he was not cleared of the charge until 1694 when Pennsylvania 
(which had been placed under a royal deputy) was restored to him. 
The later years of his life were clouded by financial troubles and at 
times by constitutional disputes with the Pennsylvanians, aggravated 
by his mistaken choice of deputies. When he and his people were 
able to meet, the real respect and confidence they felt towards him 
was strong enough to clear away misunderstandings. He died in 
1 718, after several years of enfeebling illness. 

Deep religious feeling, undaunted courage, wide tolerance, 
good sense, and enthusiasm for freedom, were Penn's main 
characteristics. His most serious defect was the mistaken estimate 
he often formed of his subordinates, which involved him in public 
and private difficulties. Freedom of conscience, with Penn as with 

1 Through Bushell's Case. Bushell was foreman of the jury which in spite of 
threats from the judge, imprisonment, and starvation steadily returned a verdict 
of " Not Guilty," until at last they amended it to one that Penn was " Guilty 
of speaking in Gracechurch Street. William Mead not guilty." " Speaking " 
not being a criminal offence the judge was baffled, and in revenge fined the jury. 
Bushell appealed against the legality of the fine, and won his case. 

* On his death-bed he said : " Son William, if you and your friends keep to 
your plain way of preaching, and keep to your plain way of living, you will make 
an end of the priests to the end of the world " (quoted by his son in the later editions 
of No Cross, No Crown). 


Barclay, was a deep and passionate conviction. In 1678, amid 
the dangers and delirium of the " Popish Plot," he attended a 
parliamentary committee to protest against the injustice which 
confounded Quakers with Roman Catholics, because both refused 
the Test Oaths. " Yet," he continued, " we do not mean that any 
should take a fresh aim at them, or that they must come in our room : 
for we must give the liberty we ask, and cannot be false to our 
principles, though it were to relieve ourselves. For we have good- 
will to all men, and would have none suffer for a truly sober and 
conscientious dissent on any hand ; and I humbly take leave to add, 
that those methods against persons so qualified, do not seem to me 
convincing, or indeed adequate, to the reason of mankind ; but 
this I submit to your discretion." 1 

" This " was doctrine too high for Parliament for many years 
to come, but the speech shows us not only why Friends welcomed 
the Declaration of Indulgence, but also why the grotesque cry of 
" Papist " or " Jesuit " was raised against them. A disinterested 
passion for justice and fair play is, happily, not rare among our 
countrymen. It is the more perplexing, therefore, that when it 
is active in an unpopular cause, its advocates are so often accused 
of private and selfish interests. In a later work, 3 Penn describes 
instances of Protestant intolerance, which are not a reproach "against 
Protestancy, but very much against Protestants." In another direc- 
tion Penn's thoughts were generations in advance of his time. He 
never accepted the social system, with its sharp divisions of wealth 
and poverty, as a divine ordinance. The pithy apothegms in Fruits 
of Solitude give his mature views on the taxation of luxury, the 
equalization of income, and other problems which have a strangely 
modern ring. These views had changed little since he wrote in his 
ardent youth : " That the sweat and tedious labour of the husband- 
men, early and late, cold and hot, wet and dry, should be converted 
into the pleasure, ease, and pastime of a small number of men ; 
that the cart, the plough, the thrash, should be in that continual 
severity laid upon nineteen parts of the land, to feed the inordinate 
lusts and delicious appetites of the twentieth, is so far from the 
appointment of the great Governor of the world, and God of the 
spirits of all flesh that to imagine such horrible injustice as the effect 

1 Life of Penn : Select Works, p. 46. There is an interesting comment on 
Penn's attitude in G. M. Trevelyan, England Under the Stuarts, p. 436. 
* Good Advice to the Church of England, 1687. 


of his determinations, and not the intemperance of men, were 
wretched and blasphemous." * 

On the question of outward wars and fighting, if we believe 
the often-quoted anecdote, he soon made up his mind. Like other 
young men of fashion, he wore a sword, and one day after his con- 
vincement he asked the advice of Fox about the custom, saying 
that once in Paris it had saved his life, as he had been able to disarm 
and put to flight a highwayman. Fox simply replied : " Wear it as 
long as thou canst." Shortly afterwards they met again, and this 
time Penn had no sword.* The story is certainly characteristic 
of Fox. 

When, during one of his many trials, on this occasion for unlawful 
preaching, the oath of allegiance was offered to Penn in the form 
" that it is not lawful, upon any pretence whatever, to take up arms 
against the King," he refused on the ground " I cannot fight against 
any man, much less against the King," and " it is both my practice 
and all my friends to instil principles of peace and moderation." 
While in Newgate, serving his sentence, he wrote a memorial to 
Parliament emphasizing the submission of Friends to all lawful 
demands of the civil government.3 

In his Works there are many plain assertions of the unchristian 
nature of war. " Even the Turks," he says,4 " are outdone by 
apostate Christians ; whose practice is therefore more condemnable, 
because they have been better taught : they have had a master of 
another doctrine and example. It is true they call him Lord still, 
but let their ambition reign ; they love power more than one 
another, and to get it, kill one another, though charged by him 
not to strive, but to love and serve one another. ... A very trifle 
is too often made a ground of quarrel here : nor can any league 
be so sacred or inviolable, that arts shall not be used to evade and 

1 No Cross, No Crown (1669), pp. 61-2. 

* The original source of the story is unknown. It was first printed by Janney 
in his Life of Penn (Philadelphia, 1851). He had it from oral tradition in America. 

i In the famous trial of Mead and Penn (September 1670), Mead (an old soldier) 
protested against the terms of the indictment " which is a bundle of stuff, full of 
lies and falsehood ; for therein I am accused that I met <vi et amis, illicit/ et 
tumultuost. Time was, when I had freedom to use a carnal weapon, and then I 
thought I feared no man ; but now I fear the living God, and dare not make use 
thereof, nor hurt any man ; nor do I know I demeaned myself as a tumultuous 
person. I say I am a peaceable man." (" The People's Ancient and Just Liberties 
Asserted, in the Trial of William Penn and William Mead." Penn'i Works) 

4 No Cross, No Crown, ch. viii* sects. 6 and 7. 


dissolve it, to increase dominion. No matter who, nor how many 
are slain, made widows and orphans or lose their estates and 
livelihoods : what countries are ruined, what towns and cities 
spoiled ; if by all these things the ambitious can but arrive at their 
ends." And he calls as witness the bloody history of the seventeenth 
century. The last sixty years " will furnish us with many wars 
begun upon ill grounds, and ended in great desolation." Quoting 
the seventh Beatitude, he comments that Christ did not say " Blessed 
are the contentious, backbiters, tale-bearers, brawlers, fighters, 
and makers of war ; neither shall they be called the children of 
God, whatever they may call themselves." 1 In several passages 
he explains and defends the Quaker position. Once he says half- 
humorously, " they cannot kill or slay their own kind, and so are 
not fit for warriors," but he goes on in seriousness, " let not this 
people be thought useless or inconsistent with Governments, for 
introducing that harmless, glorious way to this distracted world 
(for somebody must begin it), but rather adore the providence, embrace 
the principle, and cherish and follow the example." 2 

In another place he says : " As this is the most Christian, so the 
most rational way : love and persuasion having more force than 
weapons of war. Nor would the worst of men easily be brought 
to hurt those that they really think love them. It is that love and 
patience which must in the end have the victory."3 In the long 
and able account of the Quakers which Penn prefixed to the first 
edition of George Fox's Journal 4 he condenses their peace 
testimony into the phrase " not fighting, but suffering " " As 
truth-speaking succeeded swearing, so faith and truth succeeded 
fighting, in the doctrine and practice of this people. Nor ought 
they for this to be obnoxious to civil government, since if they 
cannot fight for it, neither can they fight against it ; which is no 
mean security to the State ; nor is it reasonable that people should 
be blamed for not doing more for others than they can do for 
themselves. And Christianity set aside, if the costs and fruits 
of war were well considered, peace, with its inconveniences, is 
generally preferable." He contributed another preface to the 
posthumous edition of Barclay's Works, " Truth Triumphant." 

1 No Cross, No Crown, ch. xx, sect. r. 

1 " A Key opening the way to every Capacity to distinguish the Religion 
professed by the people called Quakers, etc." (1692, Penn's Works). 

" Primitive Christianity Revived, etc." (Penn's Works). 4 In 1694. 


In this he speaks with admiration of the Epistle of Love. It is still 
only too much needed. " Is not the wrath of God revealed 
sufficiently against us in the faction, strife, war, blood, and poverty, 
that we see almost all over Europe this day ? God Almighty make 
people sensible and weary of it, and the cause of it their sins 
sins against light, against conscience and knowledge, their unfaithful- 
ness to God and man, their scandalous immorality, and most inordi- 
nate love of the world, the ground of all contention and mischief 
that so the peace of God which passeth worldly men's under- 
standing, may fill all our hearts through repentance and conversion. 
Amen. I have been the longer," he adds, " in my notes upon this 
occasion, than I expected ; but our present condition in Europe 
drew it from me, that needs an olive branch, the doctrine of peace, 
as much as ever." 

Europe, indeed, rent and distracted by the war of the League 
of Augsburg against Louis XIV, presented a sorry spectacle for any 
peace lover. Penn's three years of retirement had given him time 
for thought and study. On the religious side its fruits were shown 
in the studies of Quakerism already mentioned, on the political 
and practical side in the " Essay towards the present and future 
peace of Europe," published in the year 1693 4. x After Dante's 
dream of a Europe united under the spiritual guidance of the Pope 
and the temporal rule of the Empire had faded before the realities of 
the Reformation, a new hope arose of a federal Union of Christian 
nations deliberating and settling differences in a general Council, 
maintaining national independence and unbroken peace among 
themselves but presenting an impassable barrier to the tide of Turkish 
aggression. This scheme of federation was first mooted in the 
Grand dessein of Henry IV and Sully, as recorded by that statesman, 
and gained the approval of Elizabeth of England. But the assassination 
of Henry ended the project, and though Grotius wrote in favour 
of arbitration, and though the seventeenth century saw the machinery 
of an international congress used, at least, to terminate war in the 

1 An essay towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe, by the Establish- 
ment of an European Dyet, Parliament, or Estates. " Beati Pacifici. Cedant 
Arma Toga." The essay was included in his Works (2 vols., 1726), and was 
brought to the notice of the Peace Congress at Paris in 1851. In 1897 it was 
published as a pamphlet by the American Peace Society at Boston and re-published, 
with a preface by J. B. Braithwaite, in December 1914 by John Bellows, Gloucester, 
It is also included in a volume of selections from Penn in Everyman's Library, 
The Peace of Europe, The Fruits of Solitude, and other writings by William Penn, 


negotiations preceding the peace of Westphalia, yet the dessein 
rusted in neglect, until Penn brought it again to light. 1 In his 
enforced leisure he had read Sully's Memoirs and Sir William 
Temple's Account of the United Provinces. The former set forth 
the elaborated scheme, while the latter showed the successful working 
of federal government in the example of Holland. Penn was fired 
by the ambition that England, too, might play her part in so great a 
work. " For this great King's example tells us it is fit to be done 
and Sir William Temple's History shows us by a surpassing instance 
that it may be done ; and Europe, by her incomparable miseries, 
makes it now necessary to be done. ... My share is only thinking 
of it at this juncture and putting it into the common light for the 
peace and prosperity of Europe." 2 

At the outset Penn disclaims any intention of preaching a 
millenary doctrine. His design is a practical one, and of all reforms, 
this was most likely in his judgment to increase the happiness and 
prosperity of mankind. How was it that nations went to war when 
the miseries of war were so overwhelming and unmistakable ? 
The groaning state of Europe called for peace. 

" What can we desire better than peace, but the grace to use 
it ? Peace preserves our possessions ; we are in no danger of 
invasions ; our trade is free and safe, and we rise and lie down 
without anxiety. The rich bring out their hoards, and employ the 
poor manufacturers ; buildings and divers projections, for profit 
and pleasure, go on : it excites industry, which brings wealth, as 
that gives the means of charity and hospitality, not the lowest 
ornaments of a kingdom or commonwealth. But war, like the frost 
of '83, seizes all these comforts at once, and stops the civil channel 
of society. The rich draw in their stock, the poor turn soldiers, 
or thieves, or starve ; no industry, no building, no manufactory, 
little hospitality or charity ; but what the peace gave, the war 

The explanation seems to be that men are passionate, obstinate, 
slow to learn, and quick to forget the lessons of experience. It is 

Vide The Arbiter in Council, pp. 276-90, for a summary of the grand dessein. 
Grotius published De Jure Belli et Pads in 1625. In the Nowveau Cynee a year 
before, a French writer, Emeric de Cruc6, pleaded for a permanent court of 

The following summary is borrowed from the Arbiter in Council, pp. 299-305, 
by permission of my brother, Mr. F. W. Hirst. Some further quotations have 
been added. 


a mark, Penn thought of the corruption of our natures that we 
cannot taste the benefit of health without a bout of sickness, or 
enjoy plenty without the instruction of want, " nor finally know 
the comfort of peace but by the smart and penance of the vices 
of war." 

From the evils of war Penn passes in a second section to the 
means of peace. Peace can only be established and maintained 
by justice. " The advantage that justice has upon war is seen by the 
success of embassies that so often prevent war by hearing the pleas 
and memorials of justice in the hands and mouths of the wronged 
party." War on behalf of justice, i.e. where you have been wronged, 
and redress has been refused upon complaint, is a remedy almost 
always worse than the disease, " the aggressors seldom getting what 
they seek or performing, if they prevail, what they promised." Justice, 
therefore, is the true means of peace, to prevent strife between 
Governments, or between governors, and governed. Peace, there- 
fore, must be maintained by justice, which is a fruit of government, 
" as government is from society, and society from consent." This 
thesis is developed and explained in a third section entitled, 
" Government : its rise and end under all models." 

" Government is an expedient against confusion ; a restraint 
upon all disorder ; just weights and an even balance ; that one may 
not injure another, nor himself by intemperance." 

The most natural and human basis of government is consent, 
" for that binds freely (as I may say) when men hold their liberty 
by true obedience to rules of their own making. No man is judge 
in his own cause, which ends in the confusion and blood of so many 
judges and executioners." 1 Penn concludes his introduction by 
explaining that in these three first sections he has briefly treated 
of Peace, Justice, and Government, " because the ways and methods 
by which peace is preserved in particular Governments will help those 
readers most concerned in my proposal to conceive with what ease 
as well as advantage the peace of Europe might be procured and kept ; 
which is the end designed by me, with all submission to those 
interested in this little treatise." 

1 " Government, then, is the prevention and cure of disorder, and the means of 
justice, as that is of peace ; for this cause they have sessions, terms, assizes, and 
parliaments, to overrule men's passions and resentments. ... So depraved is 
human nature that without compulsion, some way or other, too many would not 
readily be brought to do what they know is right and fit, or to avoid what they 
are satisfied they should not do." 


In his first section he had shown the desirableness of peace ; 
in his next the truest means of it, to wit, justice, not war ; and in the 
third, " that this justice was the fruit of good government." Then 
follows in section four, the proposal or design itself, which must be 
given in Penn's own words : 

" Now, if the Soveraign Princes of Europe, who represent 

that society, or independent state of men that was previous to the 

obligations of society, would, for the same reason that engaged men 

first into society, viz : love of peace and order, agree to meet by 

their stated deputies in a general Dyet, estates, or parliament, and 

there establish rules of justice for soveraign princes to observe one 

to another ; and thus to meet yearly, or once in two or three years 

at farthest, or as they shall see cause, and to be stiled, the soveraign 

or imperial Dyet, parliament, or state of Europe ; before which 

soveraign assembly, should be brought all differences depending 

between one soveraign and another, that can not be made up by 

private embassies before the sessions begin ; and that if any of 

the soveraignties that constitute these imperial states, shall refuse 

to submit their claim or pretensions to them, or to abide and perform 

the judgment thereof, and seek their remedy by arms, or delay their 

compliance beyond the time prefixt in their resolutions, all the other 

soveraignties, united as one strength, shall compel the submission 

and performance of the sentence, with damages to the suffering 

party, and charges to the soveraignties that obliged their submission : 

to be sure, Europe would quietly obtain the so much desired and 

needed peace, to her harassed inhabitants ; no soveraignty in Europe 

having the power and therefore can not show the will to dispute 

the conclusion ; and consequently, peace would be procured, and 

continued in Europe." 

In a fifth section Penn reviews the causes of difference and 
the motives that lead States or their rulers to settle such differences 
by war rather than by diplomacy or arbitration. The motives of 
war are three : namely, Defence, Recovery, Aggression. Penn 
imagines the warlike aggressor saying to himself : " Knowing 
my own strength I will be my own judge and carver." The aggressor 
would have no chance in the Imperial States of federated Europe ; 
but any State claiming protection, or the right to recover territory 
of which it had been deprived, would be heard whenever it chose 
to plead before the sovereign court of Europe and there find justice 
Thus Penn (in the sixth section) is led to consider the titles by 



which territories may be held or claimed. A title comes by right 
of long succession, as in England and France, or as in Poland and 
the Empire by election, or by purchase, as often in Italy and Germany, 
or by marriage, or lastly by conquest as the French in Lorraine, 
and the Turks in Christendom. What titles then are good and what 
bad ? These problems must be left to the sovereign States and the 
international court to deal with and decide in each case. But Penn 
was ready to show upon what principle such controversies would 
be decided, by an examination of titles. He decides that all are good 
except the last. Conquest only gives a questionable title, morally 
speaking, " engross 'd and recorded by the point of the sword, and 
in bloody characters." When conquest has been confirmed by treaty 
it is an adopted title. " Tho' that hath not always extinguished 
the fire, but it lies, like ember and ashes, ready to kindle so soon 
as there is fit matter prepared for it." If there is to be a restitution 
of conquests it is a tender point where to begin. Could they go back, 
for instance, to the Peace of Nimeguen ? 

In a seventh section Penn describes the constitution of his 
European Parliament. The number of delegates sent by each country 
should be in proportion to its wealth, revenue, and population. 
These would have to be accurately ascertained ; but Penn makes 
the following guess. He allows twelve representatives to Germany, 
ten to France, ten to Spain, ten to Turkey, and ten to Muscovy. 1 
Italy was to have eight, England six, the Seven United Provinces 
of Holland, " Sweedland," and Poland four each. Venice and 
Portugal were to send three delegates apiece, and the smaller States in 
proportion. Ninety delegates in all would form the Diet. Its first 
session should be held in some central town ; after that the delegates 
would choose their place of meeting. 

In the eighth section he gives some details for the regulation 
of his Imperial States in session. Thus, " to avoid quarrel for 
precedency the room may be round [as at the first Hague Conference] 
and have divers doors, to come in and go out at, to prevent excep- 
tions." Members should preside by turns ; voting should be by ballot 
to secure independence and to prevent corruption. A majority 
of three-quarters should be necessary and " neutralities in debates 
should be no wise endured." The language used would be Latin 

* The grand dessein contemplated aggressive action against Turkey and was 
doubtful whether to admit Russia, " almost a barbarous country," or to expel 
the Czar from his European territory {Arbiter in Council, p. 283). 


or French the first would be best for civilians, the second for men 
of quality. 

In section nine he entertains some objections that might be 
advanced against his design. First it might be said that the richest 
and the strongest sovereignty would never agree to this " European 
League or Confederacy," and there would be danger of corruption 
if it did agree. A more plausible objection was that disuse of the 
trade of soldiery would lead to effeminacy, and a deficiency of soldiers, 
as happened in Holland to 1672. But each nation would instruct 
and discipline its youth as it pleased. Manliness, says Penn, depends 
on education. You want men to be men, not either lions or women. 
Teach them mechanical knowledge and natural philosophy, and 
the art of government, " how to be useful and serviceable, both 
to themselves and others : and how to save and help, not injure 
or destroy." No State would be allowed to keep a disproportionately 
large army, or one formidable to the confederacy. Another objec- 
tion would be that if the trade of soldier declined, there would be 
no employment for the younger brothers of noble families, and 
further, if the poor could not enlist they must become thieves. 
Penn answers that the poor should be brought up to be neither 
thieves nor soldiers but useful citizens. Education, next to the 
immediate welfare of the nation, " ought of all things to be the care 
and skill of the government. For such as the youth of any country 
is bred, such is the next generation, and the government in good 
or bad hands." Again, it would be said : " Sovereign States will cease 
to be sovereign, and that they won't endure." No, for they remain 
just as sovereign at home as ever they were. Is there less sovereignty 
" because the great fish can no longer eat up the little ones ? " 

Finally, Penn recounts " the real benefits that flow from this 
proposal about peace." (1) Not the least is that it prevents spilling 
much " humane " and Christian blood. " And tho' the chiefest 
in government are seldom personally exposed, yet it is a duty incumbent 
upon them to be tender of the lives of their people ; since without 
all doubt, they are accountable to God for the blood that is spilt 
in their service. So that besides the loss of so many lives, of 
importance to any government, both for labour and propagation, 
the cries of so many widows, parents, and fatherless are prevented, 
that cannot be very pleasant in the ears of any government, and is 
the natural consequence of war in all government." 

(2) It will in some degree recover the reputation of Christianity 


in the sight of infidels. " Here," he says, " is a wide field for the 
reverend clergy of Europe to act that part in . . . May they recom- 
mend and labour this pacific means I offer." 

(3) It releases the funds of princes and peoples, which can go to 
learning, charity, manufactures, etc. 

(4) Border towns and countries like Flanders and Hungary 
will be saved from the rage and waste of war. 

(5) It will afford " ease and security of travel and traffic, an 
happiness never understood since the Roman Empire has been 
broken into so many sovereignties." We may easily conceive, he adds, 
the comfort and advantage of travelling through the governments 
of Europe by a pass from any of the sovereignties of it, which this 
league and state of peace will naturally make authentic. " They 
that have travelled Germany, where is so great a number of 
sovereignties, know the want and value of this privilege, by the 
many stops and examinations they meet with by the way ; but 
especially such as have made the grand tour of Europe." 

(6) Europe will be secured against Turkish inroads, which have 
usually occurred through the carelessness or connivance of some 
Christian prince. But Penn looked to the inclusion of the Turk 
in the federation, " for the security of what he holds in Europe," 
and not to a Christian crusade to drive him from these possessions. 

(7) It will beget friendship between princes and States ; and 
from communion and intercourse will spring emulation in good 
laws, learning, arts, and architecture. 

" For princes have the curiosity of seeing the Courts and cities 
of other countries, as well as private men, if they could as securely 
and familiarly gratify their inclinations. It were a great motive 
to the tranquillity of the world : that they could freely converse face 
to face, and personally and reciprocally give and receive marks of 
civility and kindness. An hospitality that leaves these impressions 
behind it, will harldy let ordinary matters prevail, to mistake or 
quarrel one another." 

In short, reciprocal hospitality and intercourse will plant peace 
in a deep and fruitful soil. 

(8) Princes will be able to marry for love, and family affections 
will not be crushed by dynastic quarrels and reasons of State. Penn, 
probably thinking of his own happy marriage and of the embittered 
life of James II, declares that "the advantage of private men upon 
princes by their family comforts is a sufficient balance against their 


greater power and glory." Thus he ends his proposal of means 
whereby "the same rules of justice and prudence by which parents 
and masters govern their families, and magistrates their cities, and 
estates their republics, and princes and kings their principalities 
and kingdoms, Europe may obtain and preserve peace among her 
sovereignties." According to Besse, the work was so well received 
by the general public that a second edition was issued in the same 


Penn's plan for a reasonable European settlement, if not un- 
noticed, was at least untried. The Treaty of Ryswick, 1697, on ^Y 
secured a brief truce until the War of the Spanish Succession brought 
suffering once more upon the peoples. And once more a Friend 
was found to plead for peace and federation. John Bellers is an 
interesting and unique figure in the annals of the Society. 1 He was 
not a child of his generation, but belongs much more to those groups 
of philanthropic reformers who arose in England and France in 
the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century and who were agents 
in the removal of so many abuses. Half a century later he might 
have received from the overseers of his meeting a gentle reproof 
for excessive " creaturely activity," but in Queen Anne's reign 
Friends listened patiently to his schemes, and in one or two instances 
even put them in some degree into practice. Bellers was born in 1654, 
the son of a prosperous Quaker grocer in the City of London. By 
his marriage to Frances Fettiplace, also a Friend and heiress of an 
old Gloucestershire family, he inherited a small estate at Coin 
St. Aldwyn, and he seems to have led a life of leisure and some 
affluence. He was a member of the Meeting for Sufferings, which 
relieved the necessities of Friends in prison or otherwise distressed, 
and he was eager in pressing upon Friends as a body and on his own 
local meetings their obligation to maintain and provide for the poor. 

His scheme for a "College of Industry," published in 1695, 
influenced the Society in the foundation of a " School and work- 
house " at Clerkenwell seven years later, which, after various changes, 
has taken modern shape as a large co-education boarding school 
at Saffron Walden. Bellers' own proposal was in many ways a curious 
anticipation of Socialist theories. In 181 8 Robert Owen and Francis 

1 There is a good account of Bellers as writer and philanthropist in Braithwaite, 
Second Period of Quakerism, pp. 571 foil. 


Place reprinted the pamphlet on the " College," claiming it as a 
forecast of Owen's plan for an industrial commonwealth. Karl 
Marx has described Bellers as a " phenomenon " in the history 
of political economy, and in 1895 Edward Bernstein made him 
the subject of a very careful study, based on original research, in 
the large History of Socialism compiled by German Socialists. 
Throughout his life he was busied with philanthropic plans, which 
he urged in numerous pamphlets on Electoral Reform, Hospital 
Reform, Prison Reform, and other topics that are still with us to-day. 
He was a friend of Penn and of the celebrated physician Sir Hans 
Sloane, but, apart from his benevolent activities, little is known of 
his life, although it did not end until 1725. The peace tract, which 
is his chief title to notice here, was published in 17 10, after the War 
of the Spanish Succession had for nine years consumed uncounted 
lives and treasure. 

The tract, " Some Reasons for an European State," * opens 
with a series of dedications or addresses. The first, to Queen Anne, 
expresses the assurance that she at least would welcome the 
prospect of a rational peace since " crowns have cares sufficient 
in the best of times." Lest she should think the prospect of a 
European federation chimerical, she is reminded that " the ten 
Saxon, Welsh, Scotch, and Irish Kingdoms are now happily united 
in one Government, to the saving of much humane blood." Then, 
turning to " the Lords and Commons of Great Britain in Parlia- 
ment assembled," Bellers points out to them that the " deluge of 
Christian blood and the vast treasure which have been spent to 
procure the expected peace, is a most powerful argument of the 
necessity when made that it may be perpetual if possible." The 
first essential step, in his view, is that England and her Allies should 
establish a Supreme Court " to decide their future disputes without 
blood." If then an invitation is extended to all the Neutral Powers 
to join this Court " it will draw on the peace the faster (if not made 

1 Some reasons for an European State, proposed to the Powers of Europe by 
an Universal Guarantee, and an Annual Congress, Senate, Dyet, or Parliament, 
to settle any disputes about the bounds and rights of Princes and States hereafter. 
With an abstract of a scheme formed by King Henry IV of France, upon the same 
subject. And also, a proposal for a General Council or Convocation of all the 
different religious persuasions in Christendom (not to dispute what they differ 
about, but) to setde the General Principles they agree in : by which it will appear 
that they may be good subjects and neighbours, though of different apprehensions 
of the way to Heaven. In order to prevent broils and wars at home, when foreign 
wars are ended (1 Peter iv. 8. London, printed Anno 17 10). 


before) and the more incline France itself to come into it, by 
which that kingdom will reap the blessings of a lasting peace, which 
their present King's grandfather had formerly proposed." The details 
of the scheme are then worked out in the body of the pamphlet. 

At the opening Bellers lays stress upon the economic argument, 
and estimates the waste of labour and wealth by a strangely modern 
use of statistics. 

If we suppose this war since '88 hath cost the French 
Crown 12 Millions Sterling a year. In 20 years it 
comes to 240,000,000 

For which 1 2 Millions a year, if reckoned at 6 per cent., 

the interest (compound) comes to 200,000,000 

Which in all make 440,000,000 

And besides that they have lost 30 thousand men a year 
at least, that in 20 years comes to 600 thousand, 
which if valued at 200 a head, which every able 
man and his posterity may be deemed to add to the 
value of the Kingdom at 10 a yr. per head at 
20 years' purchase, comes to ... ... 120,000,000 

And the total loss is thus 560,000,000, or, from another point 
of view, this 440,000,000 at 5 per cent, interest would bring 
in an annual revenue of 22,000,000, " which is four or five 
times as much as the usual revenues of the Crown of France in 
time of peace." And the 600,000 men lost are double or treble 
the number now under arms in France. And " where there are 
no men, there can be no money, nor women, nor children, nor 
kingdom, but a land without inhabitants." The other kingdoms 
and countries of Europe engaged in the war have been impoverished 
in the same way, in proportion to their expenditure of men and 
money. Yet what result has been gained to compensate for all this 
outlay ? " It would be much more glorious for a prince to build 
palaces, hospitals, bridges, and make rivers navigable, and to increase 
the number of his people, than by pouring out humane blood as 
water, to invade his neighbours." 

This leads Bellers to his main proposal. At the next peace 
there should be established by universal guarantee an annual Congress 
of all the princes and States of Europe, in one federation, " with 
a renouncing of all claims upon each other," which should debate 
under acknowledged rules of an international law " to prevent 


any disputes that might otherwise raise a new war in this age or the 
ages to come ; by which every prince and State will have all the 
strength of Europe to protect them." It would be to the interest 
of the Allies to begin the scheme among themselves, for Holland, 
Switzerland, and other instances show the advantages of federation. 
Bellers himself favours the plan of dividing Europe into a hundred 
or more equal cantons, of such a size that every Sovereign State 
shall send at least one member to the Congress. Each canton must 
raise an equal proportion of soldiers or a contribution in money 
or ships of the same value, and for every such contribution furnished 
by a State it shall have the right to send an additional member to 
the Senate or Congress. Like Penn, Bellers would include Russia 
and Turkey in the Federation, and in a later passage he censures 
Henry IV for shutting them out. " The Muscovites are Christians, 
and the Mahometans men, and have the same faculties and reason 
as other men. They only want the same opportunities and applica- 
tions of their understandings to be the same men. But to beat their 
brains out, to put sense into them, is a great mistake, and would 
leave Europe too much in a state of war." By this arrangement 
of representation in proportion to territory, the stronger States will 
be willing to enter the union, and yet " the major part of the senate 
not being interested in the dispute, will be the more inclined to that 
side which hath most reason in it." The limitation of armaments, 
too, will prevent the peace from degenerating into an armed truce, 
which would crush the peoples under new expenditure in addition 
to the vast charges of the debts incurred by the war. Even under 
this scheme there will be no compensation for the sufferings of the 
past. " There can be no righting the people that have been ruined 
and destroyed by war, nor the princes they have belonged unto, 
and the longer the war continues, injuries will be the more increased. 
For war always ruins more people than it raiseth, and the rights 
of both princes and people are best preserved in peace. Therefore, 
the best expedient that can be offered, is such a settlement, as will 
prevent adding more injuries by war to those irreparable ones already 

A third address follows, " to the Councillors and Ministers 
of State " of Europe, which contains some pungent home-truths. 
They are reminded that war " shakes, if not throws down those 
ministers that set at helm, for whether their management be defective 
or not, the people only cry them up or run them down by their 


success." Bellers lays to their account the awful toll of death and 
bereavement during the previous nine years. " The princes of 
Europe," he says, " have seldon been more weary of war than 
at present, yet the impossibility of submission drives them on, until 
he that is nearest ruin must first ask for peace." But Bellers longed 
for peace, not only in the political, but also in the religious world. 
The last address, to bishops, clergy, and religious teachers, is a plea 
for concord and tolerance. The disunion of the churches is a 
reproach to Christianity, and an insuperable obstacle to the conver- 
sion of the heathen. Yet in war the different sects are able to form 
alliances and to act in friendship, while science and learning know 
no barriers of race or creed. The English Royal Society, and the 
French Academy " lament the obstruction that is given to their 
desired correspondence by the war." Bellers' views on freedom 
of thought can bear repetition even to-day. " If a man but lives 
agreeable to the public peace, his error in opinion cannot hinder 
a better Christian from heaven. . . . Remove but the various 
passions that cloud men, and then truth will be discovered by its 
own light. Imposing religion without reaching the understanding 
is not leading men to heaven. Men will not be saved against 
their wills." Hence, as a European Congress will harmonize the 
interests and desires of the several States, so let another Council 
of men of religion meet to discover a common basis of belief and 
morality among the several sects. 

Next anticipating the Abbe St. Pierre, 1 Bellers gives a short 
summary of the grand dessein, drawn from Sully's Memoir es. In 
his Conclusion he alludes to the " small treatise " of Penn on the 
same theme, giving (with unusual exactness for that age) the name 
of its publisher. This Conclusion summarizes the previous arguments 
against war, and one statement comes to the modern reader with 
fresh emphasis. " War is destruction, and puts men (they think) 
under a necessity of doing those things, which in a time of peace 
they would account cruel and horrid." Bellers ends with a finely 
expressed prayer to God to " bless the Princes of Europe with the 
knowledge of Thyself . . . that the noise of war may be heard 
no more, and that Thy will may be done in earth as it is in heaven." 

The only other Quaker writings of the eighteenth century 
calling for notice is a group of tracts published in 17467, 
which are of more interest as a symptom of the state of the Society 
1 Un Projet de Paix Perpetuelle first appeared in 171 3. 


than for their intrinsic merits. The War of the Austrian Succession 
was dragging on its inglorious course and Charles Edward had seen 
his Highland army shattered, and had fled to France. The shock 
of war, as usual, caused heart-searching among Quakers ; for the 
first time a Friend was found bold enough to challenge the whole 
peace position in a public, though anonymous, pamphlet, " The 
Nature and Duty of Self-Defence : Addressed to the people called 
Quakers, 1 746." 1 The writer, Richard Finch, a London merchant, 
dedicates his work to that " illustrious hero," William, Duke of 
Cumberland. His arguments are straightforward, and more ingenuous 
than some advanced in later days. " Self-defence," he says, " is 
a natural right, and the Gospel ought not to abolish any of our 
natural privileges." If the command to love enemies and to forgive 
injuries is to be obeyed literally, then all the Sermon on the Mount 
must be obeyed literally. This Finch evidently considers a reductio 
ad absurdum, and he explains that the command means " to bear 
or pass by, as far as is possible or convenient, all sorts of injuries and 
abuses." The soldier is merely an executioner, who takes away 
life for the public good. Finch evidently holds the view that the 
other side is always the aggressor, whether " several thousands of 
armed villains should assemble together with full resolution to 
overturn that Government to which they ought to submit," or a 
foreign enemy comes " to disturb the quiet and repose of a people 
who give them no umbrage." A man may rightly refuse, he admits, 
to fight in an unjust cause ; but if the land is invaded in retaliation 
for an unjust attack, he may then take up arms "notwithstanding 
the first false step." 

It is odd to find a spirited defence of the conscientious nature 
of Quaker scruples included in the pamphlet. Finch tells the 
following story, whose conclusion cannot be traced in the records 
of the Society. " There is now, while I am writing this, a particular 
case depending in London, viz. four soldiers, who were lately 
quartered at Bristol, have entered into the Society of the Quakers, 
refused to wear the King's clothes, receive his pay, or bear arms. 
They are brought to London, to be tried, as I suppose, by a court- 
martial, where, if this change appears to be matter of conviction 
and sincerity, they will doubtless meet with the same favour the 
rest of their Friends enjoy." 

Finch was answered in several pamphlets. Joseph Besse, com- 
1 In D. Tracts, 339, 12. 


piler of the Sufferings, under the pseudonym of " Irenicus," edited 
Penington's tract of the " Weighty Question." 1 In his preface 
he reminds the reader that Christ calls His followers lambs and sheep. 
" To imagine an army of sheep encountering the wolves, or two 
armies of lambs worrying and destroying one another, would be 
an absurdity in nature." 

In another anonymous tract, " A modest plea on behalf of the 
people called Quakers," 2 the position taken up by Penington is re- 
emphasized. " Our arguments are urged only in behalf of those 
who are brought in themsleves to the knowledge of this inward 
and peaceable principle, and refusing to fight with carnal weapons, 
have surrendered cheerfully their all into the hands and protection 
of the Almighty. The magistrates or any other person, not con- 
vinced of this to be their duty, may very fitly fight in defence of 
life, liberty, and property, and it is even possible, if not probable, 
that the outward sword thus drawn in a good cause has been secretly 
blessed and prospered by the Almighty and that such an army, formed 
on these principles, may have often been a bulwark and security 
to those whose tender consciences would not permit them to draw 
the carnal sword themselves." The writer gives a recent and striking 
instance of the distinction between civil j ustice and war. The rebel 
Earl of Kilmarnock, he says, at his execution expressed gratitude 
that he had been given time for repentance, and had not fallen " in 
the midst of his sins in the dreadful carnage at Culloden." 

Another reply, also attributed to Besse, was published in 1747.3 
Its arguments cover familiar ground, and its chief contribution 
to the discussion is a renunciation of the right of self-defence. 
Finch, he says, " acknowledges that war is a very terrible and 
undesirable state ; but queries ' Would it not be more terrible to 
remain quiet and unopposing under the horrid murders, ravages, 
and devastation of execrable abandoned villains ? ' I answer that 
in such a state the condition of the Patient is much to be preferred 
to that of the Agent ; and suffering Innocence is far more desirable 
and less terrible than insulting Wickedness." 

These replies were, of course, the work of private members 

1 In D. Tracts, 214, 3. " The doctrine of the people called Quakers in relation 
to bearing arms and fighting, extracted from the works of a learned and 
approved writer of that persuasion 1746." 

J Ibid., 204, 11. 

3 Ibid., 212. "An Enquiry into the Validity of a late Discourse," etc. 


of the Society. The most interesting feature of the controversy 
is that nine years later Finch himself published a recantation of his 
own pamphlet. 1 In it he carefully explained that neither for this 
nor for his earlier tract was the Society in any degree responsible, 
and he indignantly repudiates the libel that he was hired by the 
Quakers to retract his opinions. On the contrary, even when he 
wrote his first tract his mind was uneasy and he suspected his error. 
At that time he dallied with sceptical opinions in religious matters. 
" But it pleased God . . . once more to draw me towards Himself, 
and afresh incline my mind to attend those religious assemblies 
where I had formerly enjoyed that satisfaction of mind, which I 
never so experienced in any other place of public worship ; which 
may be accounted for, when we consider that the truest method 
of waiting for divine strength and comfort is in this day too much 
derided as novelty and enthusiasm. . . . And I no sooner complied 
with the drawing aforementioned but I was favoured with a com- 
posure of mind to me unknown for a long season before : my book 
came fresh to remembrance, and the same which spread a solemnity 
over my mind seemed to indicate or at least it then appeared to me, 
that I should, or might, in due time as heartily retract as ever I wrote 
it, which I now do. And were I to set down all that hath since 
befel me, in the course of my experience, some might think it very 
strange, while others, more sober and considerate, would readily 
acknowledge a divine hand to have followed or led me along." 
In his repentance he had published in a London newspaper a notice 
of his change of view, and gave voluntarily to the Society " that 
satisfaction which is due from her members, who have flagrantly 
and publicly deviated from a fundamental doctrine." 

Nevertheless he considered that some of his critics had been 
unfair, and he replied to them at length. He had evidently been 
much influenced by Isaac Penington, and was still willing to 
consider war for some men necessary and even honourable, though 
he admitted a clear distinction between it and civil justice. His 
indignant description of the sufferings of the ordinary soldier reaches 
back to Barclay and forward to Carlyle. 3 

1 Second Thoughts concerning War, wherein that great subject is candidly 
considered, and set in a new light in answer to and by the author of a late pamphlet, 
entitled " The Nature and Duty of Self-Defence, addressed to the People called 
Quakers " (Job xlii. 3, 5, 6 5 Nottingham, 1755. In D. Tracts). 

Vide ante, p. 149, and Carlyle, Sartor Resartus. 


" For in war the innocent and the guilty not only perish 
promiscuously ; but war drags the innocent from all quarters to 
butcher each other in the open field ; leaving their families to great 
distress, or to pine away their days in hunger and sorrow ; bereaved 
of their natural support, the industry of the husband or the parent. 
Wherefore, I think, that such as have faith enough, had better 
under all risks, commit themselves, soul and body and all that is 
theirs, to Providence, rather than be active in such dismal scenes. 
For men forced from the plough and the spade, from mechanics, 
husbandry, and their families, and pushed on by the pike or by 
arbitrary power to fight, kill, and destroy such as they have no quarrel 
with or enmity against, may surely be deemed innocent in com- 
parison of the obdurate villain, the midnight ruffian, and murderer ; 
and yet so far nocent, too, that they may be laudably withstood 
by such as see no farther than they do (or not to the end of war) 
being by arbitrary power or the custom or law of their country 
compelled to draw the sword. I do not therefore compare the mutual 
slaughter of these to downright murder, and yet the destruction of 
these people in war (whose condition is much to be pitied) by the 
hands of such as believe themselves redeemed from all war, would 
too much resemble that black crime." 


A dry doctrinal ministry, however sound in words, can reach but the ear, 
and is but a dream at the best. There is another soundness, that is soundest 
of all, viz. Christ the power of God. . . . Therefore, I say, for you 
to fall flat and formal and continue the profession, without that salt and 
savour by which it is come to obtain a good report among men, is not to 
answer God's love, nor your parents' care, nor the mind of truth in your- 
selves, nor in those that are without ; who, though they will not obey the 
truth, have sight and sense enough to see if they do, that make a profession 
of it. William Penn, 1694. 




The first half of the eighteenth century is not a period to which 
any religious body in England can look back with satisfaction. In 
spite or much fervent individual piety the general level of spiritual 
life was low. The Established Church was chiefly concerned to 
maintain her privileges and revenues, the Dissenters feared that by 
any undue activity they might forfeit the toleration they had hardly 
won, and the Roman Catholics were fortunate if they could practise 
their faith by stealth and under risk of harsh penalties. 

The Society of Friends did not escape the deadening influence 
of the time. The leaders of the early period had passed or were 
passing away. The business integrity of Friends had brought a 
temporal reward, and the new generation included many wealthy 
or well-to-do men, merchants, bankers, and retail traders. They 
felt a genuine gratitude to the rulers who had relieved them from 
persecution, and an equally genuine abhorrence of rebels and rioters 
who disturbed both their spiritual and material well-being. They 
were faithful to the traditional " testimonies," but they were not 
of the stuff of the martyrs. Most fatal change of all, they tended 
to think their Society as merely a sect among other sects. It is perhaps 
not fanciful to consider that the decline in the spiritual power of the 
Quakers coincides with their willingness to adopt the official descrip- 
tion of " Protestant Dissenters." Certainly the beginnings of a 
revived influence coincide both in England and America with the 
test of war and the first organized movements against slavery. There 
were, of course, in the earlier eighteenth century, still Friends of 
the primitive type, unworldly, selfless, and courageous, but the official 
standpoint was one of caution. A trivial instance shows the tendency, 
when Anne was scarcely settled on the throne. 

12 ir > 


In December 1702 the Meeting for Sufferings had before it 
"a letter from John Love to William Warren," with a paper of 
rhymes that he published at Canterbury relating to war and blood- 
shed among professors of Christianity ; which Friends judge to 
be very unsafe, and that he ought to have shown it to Friends there 
before published. Also (he) sends a copy of his commitment by the 
Mayor of Canterbury for the same. . . . It's referred to the Corre- 
spondents to write to him to endeavour to be quiet and still, and 
have a care how he brings an exercise upon himself and Friends, 
and therefore that he endeavour to get in his paper from the 
magistrates again, Friends esteeming it not fit for them nor Govern- 

In justice to the Meeting, it must be said that its members showed 
more sympathy and less fear of " Government " in the many cases 
of Quakers pressed for the Navy who appealed to them for deliver- 
ance. The experiences of Thomas Chalkley show what a menace 
hung over the ports and trading-ships in time of war. In 1694, 
as a boy of nineteen, he was seized near his Southwark home, brought 
on board ship and thrown into the hold, where his physical discomfort 
was overshadowed by his moral shrinking from the " dark and 
hellish " conversation of his fellow prisoners. When the longed-for 
morning came and they were brought on deck, the lieutenant asked 
him whether he would serve the King. " I answered that I was 
willing to serve him in my business, and according to my conscience ; 
but as for war or righting, Christ had forbid it in His excellent Sermon 
on the Mount ; and for that reason I could not bear arms, nor 
be instrumental to destroy or kill men. Then the lieutenant looked 
on me and on the people and said, ' Gentlemen, what shall we do 
with this fellow ? He swears he will not fight.' The Commander 
of the vessel made answer, ' No, no, he will neither swear nor 
fight.' Upon which they turned me on shore." 1 In 1701 Chalkley 
emigrated to Pennsylvania. There he became a leading minister 
among Friends, and made many journeys " in the cause of Truth " 
on the American Continent, to the West Indies, and to England. 
The quaint and charming pages of his "Journal note as ordinary 
incidents of travel the attacks of privateers on the high seas and 
the raids of the press-gang in home waters. In 17 19 the ship in 
which he was returning to the West Indies was stopped and boarded 
in the English Channel, and the best of the crew carried off to a 

1 Chalkley, Journal, p. 7. 


man-of-war. Again, in 1735, he as merchant and shipowner was 
himself bringing a cargo from Philadelphia by the West Indies 
to England. It was a time " of very great pressing for seamen " 
(when fears of French and Spanish designs were at their height), 
and some of Chalkley's crew hid themsleves as they approached 
England. When the press-gang boarded the ship, the lieutenant 
asked for the missing men, and Chalkley tried some very elementary 
diplomacy. " I made him very little answer ; he then said he was 
sure I could not bring the ship from Barbadoes without hands. I 
told him sailors were hard to be got in Barbadoes, either for love 
or money, to go to London, for fear of being pressed, and I was 
obliged to take any I could get. He said it was in vain to talk much, 
but if I would say I had no more hands on board he would be 
satisfied (he having a belief that I would speak the truth, though 
he never saw me before). . . . But I made him no answer, not 
daring to tell a lie. ' Now I know that there is men on board,' 
said he. So he commanded his men to search the ship to her keel. 
So they stripped, and made a narrow search and sweated and fretted, 
but could not find them. He being civil, I made him when he went 
away a small present. He wished me well, and so I carried my 
people safe up to London." 1 

Some of Chalkley's experiences with privateers will be told 
in the account of West Indian Quakerism, but the North Sea and 
the Channel were as dangerous to quiet voyagers. The adventures 
of William Hornould on his return from a religious visit to Holland 
so impressed the Yearly Meeting of 1706 that a full account was 
entered in the minutes. The little lugger or fishing boat, in which 
Hornould was a passenger, had hardly left the Dutch shore when 
a privateer was sighted, but the English boat had the wind in her 
favour and was able to draw away. Next, two more sails appeared, 
but they proved to be " great ships, supposed to be Deans, and then 
it took off the fears of the people." The boat sailed well, and was 
but eight leagues from Harwich when three French privateers 
were seen ahead " making all the sail they could, both top and top- 
gallant sails, bearing down upon us, which put the people into a 
great consternation, and caused the commander and the master 
to change their course from west nor'-west to full west. . . . And 
there fell a dead calm, which put the people still into a greater conster- 
nation than before." 

1 Chalkley, Journal, pp. ioo, 277. 


" But," continued Hornould, " it was with me then, and also 
in the danger before, to encourage them all, and to desire them 
not to be afraid, for I did believe and was fully satisfied that they 
should not come near us to do us any hurt, but that we should go 
very safe to Harwich. And then it came into my mind to say to 
them, " Have you no oars ? " and they answered " Yes." " Then 
now," I said, " is the time to use them." Whereupon they hoisted 
them all out presently, and rowed (for all the men cried out they 
would all work that were able to work), and we rowed four men 
at an oar for the space of two hours, and then night came on and 
we had gained a great deal of them." Then a favourable wind sprang 
up which brought them to Harwich at dawn of the fourth day of the 
voyage. " After that we had fully escaped and their fright was over, 
they were exceeding loving to me, and I had a good time to open 
something of the principles of truth to them that we held. But 
some of them did for a time argue against our principles, but in 
a little time were overcome and said it would be a very good time if 
ever it should come to it, for all so to love one another that nobody 
would seek to injure or wrong one another, for then there would 
be no fear of privateers. Some of them answered again and said they 
were afraid that it would never come to that. But I told them I 
did not question it at all, but that the Lord would bring such a day 
and time over the world, according to the testimony of holy Scripture 
to look for such a day and time, and so in this testimony I left 

Another stalwart for peace was Thomas Story, a Quaker preacher, 
whose message and comforting presence was welcomed by many 
scattered congregations of Friends in English villages, American 
backwoods, West Indian plantations, and Dutch or German cities. 
He was as great a traveller as Chalkley, but a man of more education 
and intellectual power. As a youth, even before he joined the Society 
in 1 69 1, amid the turmoil of the "glorious revolution," he was 
moved to pour out his soul in " Spiritual Songs," fervent strophes 
of rhythmic prose, whose striking beauty contrasts with the homely 
and ill-framed sentences in which other Friends struggled to express 
their message. The atmosphere of war and political strife lay heavily 
on him and he heard his Master reproach His erring children. 
" Instead of the Sceptre of Peace they have laid hold on War, and 
despised the words of my kingdom. ... I commanded them to 
love, but behold they hated ; to forgive each other, but they hatched 


Revenge. ... I told them that my Gospel was Truth and Peace ; 
but behold they have chosen War and a Lie." 

Story never wavered in this position, and upheld it in strange 
scenes and before men of all conditions. In the year 1 7 1 8, with another 
Quaker, Dr. Heathcote, the Earl's physician, he had, by request a 
long interview with the Earl of Carlisle concerning the Quaker 
faith. 1 After some discussion the earl said : " I think you want 
but one thing to make you a very complete people ; that is, to bear 
arms. Pray, what would have become of this whole nation t'other 
day when the Spaniards were coming to invade us, if we had all, 
or greatest part, been of your religion ? No doubt we should all 
have been destroyed or enslaved." 

Story made a long reply, in which he told the Earl that " the 
kingdom of Christ is not of this world, neither is it national, but 
spiritual. And it cannot be supposed that any one nation can ever 
be the Church of Christ, which is not national and so subjected 
to the violence of any other nation." But God has ordained govern- 
ment and entrusted power to rulers. " And the temporal sword, 
as well of civil magistracy as military force, being in the hands of 
Kings and rulers, to exercise as need shall be, they, and not the 
disciples of Christ, must apply and administer accordingly, till by 
degrees the kingdom of Christ, the Prince of divine Peace, have the 
ascendant, over all kingdoms, not by violence, for His servants can 
offer none. " Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith 
the Lord." It will not be by human force or policy, but by convic- 
tion, not by violence, but consent, that " the kingdoms of this world 
will become the kingdoms of God and of his Christ." Nor will the 
kingdoms and powers in this world ever cease (being God's ordinance 
in natural and civil affairs) till the reason of them cease ; that is, 
till all violence and injustice cease, and evil-doing come to an end." 
" So that " (Story continued) " this nation is not in danger of the 
Spaniards or of any other nation, by reason of our principle, or for 
want of our help in fighting, which we have not declined because 
we durst not, or could not use the weapons of war. For many of us 
have been fighters, and I myself have worn a sword and knew very 
well how to use it. But being convinced of the evil, by the Spirit 
of the Lord Jesus, working in us in conformity to the will of God, 
and subjecting us to Himself as subjects of His peaceable kingdom, 
'tis neither cowardice in ourselves or rebellion or disloyalty in nations, 

. * Story, Life, pp. 617-23. 


but conscience towards God, and obedience to His dear Son, the 
Prince of Peace, our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus, which makes 
us decline fighting." 

Such a discourse must have sounded strange in the Earl's ears, 
and in his reply he grasped with relief at some evident and material 
facts. " 'Tis true, so long as you do behave peaceably, are loyal 
to the Government, and pay your taxes, as you do, I think ; when 
all's done, there is not an absolute necessity for your personal service 
in War, since his Majesty may always have soldiers enough for 
money, as he may have occasion." 

Story, however, brought him back to first principles. " Without 
all doubt, Volunteers, of all others, are fittest for that service, where 
no man jeopards his life, but by his own consent, choice, and inclina- 
tion, and has no man to blame but himself in the consequences of it, 
with respect either to body or soul, since both may be in hazard." 

All Friends, however, were not as staunch. Apart from those 
who were tempted by commercial interest or actual danger to 
compromise their peace principles, there were by this time some 
members whose adherence to the Society was rather a matter of 
hereditary attachment than conviction. The introduction of " birth- 
right membership," natural and almost inevitable as such a step 
was meant that many acknowledged Friends had not yet fully grasped 
all the implications of the Society's teaching. 1 On the theological 
side (although heresy hunts were still infrequent) some Friends 
of this period were more than suspected of Deism, or even scepticism, 
and others held but a wavering testimony against war. Amongst 
these, perhaps, was Dr. Johnson's friend, " Tom Cumming," 
who is mentioned several times in Boswell's Life. In 1783 the 
Doctor told Boswell that " in 1 745 my friend Tom Cumming 
the Quaker said he would not fight, but he would drive an ammuni- 
tion cart." But Thomas Cumming strayed farther from the paths 
of peace than by a mere hasty expression. In the Gentleman' s 
Magazine, June 1774, is his obituary notice, "At Tottenham, 
Mr. Thomas Cumming. He formed the plan for taking Senegal 
and Goree in the late war." The story is told at length in Smollett's 
continuation of Hume's History under the year 1758. The French 

1 In 1737 a difficulty in regard to the relief of poor members of the Society 
led to a minute of Yearly Meeting by which, incidentally the wife and children 
of a Friend were " deemed members of the Monthly Meeting of which the husband 
or father is a member," not only during his life, but after his decease. 


possessed important trading settlements on the West Coast of Africa, 

at the mouths of the rivers Gambia and Senegal and had also fortified 

the island of Goree. They thus had a monopoly of the valuable 

gum-senega, which English merchants could only buy at an exorbitant 

price through the medium of Dutch merchants. Hence, as Smollett 

says naively, " this consideration forwarded the plans for annexing 

the country to the possession of Great Britain." Even before the 

outbreak of the Seven Years War, Cumming, a " sensible Quaker," 

seems to have entertained the project. He was a London merchant 

and had himself made a voyage to Africa, where he met a chief 

" extremely well disposed " to the English. Smollett continues : 

" Mr. Cumming not only perceived the advantages that would 

result from such an exclusive privilege with regard to the gum, but 

foresaw many other important consequences of an extensive trade 

in a country which, over and above the gum-senega, contains many 

valuable articles, such as gold dust, elephant's teeth, hides, cotton, 

bees-wax, slaves, ostrich feathers, indigo, ambergris and civet. 

Elevated with the prospect of an acquisition so valuable to his country, 

this honest Quaker was equally minute and indefatigable in his 

inquiries touching the commerce of the coast, as well as the strength 

and situation of the French settlements." On his return home 

he pressed the scheme upon the Government, but it was not put 

into execution until the year 1758. A force was sent against Senegal, 

and a later expedition under Keppel bombarded and captured Goree. 

According to Smollett, Cumming declared to the Ministry that 

his scheme could be carried out without bloodshed, and it is implied 

that this was actually the case. In fact, whether he really hoped 

for a pacific conquest or not, the operations were those of ordinary 

warfare, and his plans of a British trade monopoly were also doomed 

to disappointment. The island and coast were handed back to France 

at the Peace of Paris in 1763. The tantalising part of this odd story 

is the obscurity in which the later history of Cumming is wrapped. 

The Dictionary of National Biography says that he explained his 

action to the Society of Friends, took the entire responsibility, and 

was not disowned, but as Smollett's account is the main source of 

the article these statements seem to be a mis-reading of the passage 

referred to above which gives his statements to the " Ministry." 

It would almost seem as if the writer had supposed this term to refer 

not to the English Government, but to the Society of Friends. The 

only contemporary fact about Cumming in the records of the Society 


is to be found in the London Burial Register, as follows : " Thomas 
Cumming, died 1774, 5 mon. 29. Age 59, residence Tottenham. 
Died of Dropsy. Monthly Meeting Gracechurch Street. Buried 
1774. 6th month 2 at Bunhill Fields. Non-Member." From this 
it is clear that he was not a Friend at his death, and no Birth Register 
of the Society for the years 17 14 15 contains his name. Nor does 
it occur in the numerous lists of representatives, committees, and 
signatories of official documents in the records of Yearly Meeting 
and the Meeting for Sufferings during the period covered by his 
life. The minutes of Tottenham Monthly Meeting, within the 
area of which his death took place, also make no mention of him. 
Those of Gracechurch Street were destroyed by fire in 1821 ; but 
it is probable that the reference to this Monthly Meeting in the 
Register merely means that Cumming's place of business was in that 
London district. If he resided there in earlier life, it would be the 
duty of Gracechurch Street Meeting to deal with this conduct. But 
the foregoing facts suggest the possibility that he was never an 
acknowledged member of the Society, although he may have been 
an adherent. 

Turning from these instances of the views held by individual 
Friends, the question of the official attitude of the Society next 
claims consideration. It may be said with fair accuracy that this 
was expressed each year in the proceedings of Yearly Meeting, which 
in particular took note of delinquencies within the Society, while 
in the intervening months the Meeting for Sufferings guarded 
against persecution and misunderstanding from without. 

From the establishment of the Yearly Meeting this body had 
requested the local meetings to keep and report " an exact account " 
of the spiritual and material state of the Society in their district. 
In the year 1682 the following three queries were framed to be 
answered annually by all Quarterly Meetings : 

" 1. What Friends in the Ministry in their respective Counties 
departed this life since the last Yearly Meeting ? 

" 2. What Friends, imprisoned for their testimony, have died 
since last Yearly Meeting ? 

" 3. How the Truth has prospered among them since the last 
Yearly Meeting, and how Friends are in peace and unity." 

Various alterations and additions were made to these queries 
during the next half-century ; the replies from the several meetings 
were regularly read in the Yearly Meeting, and after the year 1705 


their substance entered upon its minutes. It is not until the year 1742 
that a specific allusion to warlike activities was included among the 
queries, for, as has been explained, throughout this period in most 
parts of the country Friends endured little suffering on this account. 
The militia was only embodied twice, in the dangerous years of 17 15 
and 1 745, and, with the exception of the latter year, between 17 15 
and 1757 no Votes for the Militia were presented to Parliament. 
In 1705 Kent Quarterly Meeting returned sufferings "for not 
bearing arms" to the amount of 17, and between that year and 
171 8 London returned varying amounts for "Trained Bands." 
A more frequent form of " suffering " is recalled by the Yearly 
Meeting's appointment in 1706 of a small committee (including 
Milton's friend, Thomas Ellwood) to read the " Act for pressing 
of men or better recruiting the army for one year," and the " Act 
for manning the fleet," and to take Counsel's opinion on them, 
in case any Friends should be impressed. 1 

In this and the following year the Meeting for Sufferings had 
actually to obtain the discharge of Friends pressed into both services. 
This time of war led the Yearly Meeting to repeat in the Epistle 
of 1709 the warning of 1693 a gainst arming ships. After the Peace 
of Utrecht, the Meeting (maintaining the recognized Quaker 
privilege of personal access to the sovereign) presented a congratula- 
tory address on the establishment of " so long desired a peace." 
This was delivered to the Queen on June 4, 1713, and " kindly 
received." In 17 15 Friends in the north were in the track of the 
Jacobite rising, and the next year's Meeting received their reports. 
A Scottish Friend declared that " Friends in that kingdom did 
and do undoubtedly account the late rising and tumults against 
the Government was rebellion and that they have cause to bless 
the Lord for the defeating and disappointing of the evil purpose 
therein intended." In Lancashire, " Friends in general have behaved 
themselves inoffensively," while in Cheshire their quiet behaviour 
" gained them love and respect even from the very soldiers." The 
Meeting itself presented George I with an address upon the over- 
throw of the " Black Conspiracy." But, in common with other 
Dissenters, Quakers suffered from the attacks of disappointed Tory 
mobs. At Oxford damage to the amount of 55 was done to the 

1 Four manuscript " Books of Cases " preserved in D. contain, amongst 
other matters, many such opinions by leading lawyers, chiefly on questions of 
tithes or militia, from the reign of Charles II up to modern times. 


meeting-house and Widow Fletcher's house adjoining. Widow 
Fletcher herself appeared before the Meeting for Sufferings on 
May 1 8th to tell how " the soldiers and Oxford scholars have been 
very abusive in Friends' Meetings," and Andrew Pitt (Voltaire's 
Quaker friend) was deputed to approach the Secretary of War. 
A fortnight later he reported that a new Colonel was in charge 
of the Oxford troops, and would "prevent these abuses." 1 

In 1727 the Meeting presented George II on his accession 
with an address couched in the florid and adulatory style of the 
period. Little mark of its origin appears beyond the Quaker " thee " 
and " thou," and a wish that the new King may " compose the 
differences of Europe and avert the threatened War." Three years 
later, at a time when war was raging on the Continent, although 
Walpole firmly refused to imbroil England in the conflict, the Yearly 
Meeting made an emphatic declaration in its Epistle. 

" It hath been a weighty concern on this meeting that our ancient 
and honourable testimony against Friends being concerned in bearing 
arms or fighting may be maintained ; it being a doctrine and testimony 
agreeable to the nature and design of the Christian religion, and 
to the universal love and grace of God. This testimony, we desire, 
may be strictly and carefully maintained by a godly care and concern 
in all to stand single and clear therein ; so shall we strengthen and 
comfort one another." In 1742 the stress and strain of the European 
situation is reflected in the Epistle. " The judgments of the Lord 
are in the earth " : famine and the sword devour multitudes. Let 
Friends implore the Almighty to restore peace, and demean them- 
selves as followers of Him who commanded men to love their enemies. 
The meeting appointed this year a Committee to revise and re- 
draft the queries. This Committee increased them to eleven, of 
which the eighth read as follows : 

" Do you bear a faithful and Christian testimony against the 
receiving or paying tithes ? And against bearing arms ? And do 
you admonish such as are unfaithful therein ? " Year by year answers 
to these queries were sent by Monthly Meetings to Quarterly 

1 In 1739 a Guy Fawkes Day celebration at Timahoe, Kildare, for which 
Friends were unjustly held responsible, led to a serious riot in which the Meeting- 
house was burnt. Dublin Friends applied to the Duke of Devonshire, Lord- 
Lieutenant, and parties of soldiers were sent down to Timahoe to protect them. 
Yet in 1743 at Limerick, Waterford, and Clonmel, and again in 1746-7 at Cork 
a " rude mob of soldiers and others " enjoyed themselves in breaking Friends' 
windows, on nights of illumination for victories (Rutty, History, p. 369). 


Meetings ; each of these in turn answered them on behalf of the 
Monthly Meetings within its compass, and the answers were 
considered at the Yearly Meeting. 

The summaries of replies to the eighth query entered on the 
minutes give a clue at any rate to the position in various localities, 
though obviously some meetings possessed a more tender corporate 
conscience than others. In 1743 for the most part they declared 
that Friends were " clear " in the matter of bearing arms, or, perhaps 
more honestly, " we are not tried " (Gloucester), or " we have no 
militia raised " (Norfolk). Next year there was less complacency. 
London feared " all are not duly careful," and Derby said quaintly 
" there be several among us who are the reverse in their conduct 
to the account above, notwithstanding the repeated admonitions 
received on account of their unfaithfulness." 

From Bristol came a definite appeal : 

" We sorrowfully acknowledge to you that some under our 
profession are concerned in fitting out a privateer or privateers, 
and tho' we have seen it our duty to admonish such against a practice 
so inconsistent with the peaceable doctrines of Christ, yet, as we 
fear this case may not be singly confined to us, and is of such 
consequence to Society, we submit it to your consideration to give 
such further advice as in the love and wisdom of truth you may see 

The Yearly Meeting responded by a cautionary minute sent 
down for the consideration of the local meetings. The Quaker 
position, it says, is " agreeable to the doctrine of our blessed Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ and His Apostles, to which our ancient 
Friends abundantly bore testimony, both in doctrine and practice, 
and suffered deeply for." The arming of ships, whether for offence 
or defence, was expressly condemned by the Yearly Meeting in 
1693, 1 709, and 1730, and Friends are " under many strong engage- 
ments to observe the same, from the particular care of Providence 
over such as have been faithful to this our testimony, particularly 
those of our Friends in Pennsylvania." Those professing Friends 
concerned in armed ships, letters of marque or privateers have 
committed " a flagrant and lamentable departure from our peaceable 
principle which hath always been to confide in the protection and 
providence of Almighty God and not in weapons of war ; which 
practice of theirs may be attended with injustice, barbarity, and 
bloodshed." " This Meeting therefore " (the minute concludes) 


" having taken this sorrowful and afflicting case and breach of our 
ancient testimony into our serious consideration, have thought it 
our incumbent duty to bear our testimony against such practices, 
and 'tis the unanimous sense of this Meeting that all Quarterly 
and Monthly Meetings ought speedily to deal with every person 
found in the practice of such things, in the spirit of truth and love, 
in order to bring them to a sense of their error, and to reclaim them 
from it, which if they cannot do, to testify against them and let 
them know we have no unity or fellowship with them." 

This was a clear lead to the subordinate meetings to set their 
affairs in order, and in 1745 Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting in 
answering the eighth query, acknowledged that " in one or two 
maritime places something disagreeable hath appeared, whereunto 
suitable advice hath been given." Thus began the long " dealing " 
with Whitby and Scarborough shipowners which disturbed the 
peace of the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings concerned for the 
next half-century. The Jacobite Rising of 1745 proved a time 
of trial in which not all Friends were able to walk consistently. 
Charles landed in Scotland in July, and on the 20th of September 
the Meeting for Sufferings took into " serious consideration the 
present Rebellion in North Britian and the many obligations we 
lie under of allegiance and fidelity to the King and Government," 
and accordingly sent out an address of warning to Friends. In 
October they were besieged with letters from country meetings, 
asking advice concerning the " associations and voluntary subscrip- 
tions towards assisting in the great charge occasioned by this present 
Rebellion." The small committee appointed to consider the question 
decided that " consistent with our ancient Christian testimony and 
known practice " the Society could take no part in these arrange- 
ments. 1 " As we are conscious of our firm regard and affection 
to our rightful sovereign King George and sensible of the obligations 
we are under of fidelity and cheerful submission to his mild and 
just government, so we do trust that our principle against bearing 
arms is so well known that our not joining in such associations of 
subscriptions will be attributed to no other cause than a conscientious 
adherence to our Christian belief and persuasion." 

1 Yet, with the consent of Friends of that Monthly Meeting, Devonshire House 
Meeting-house (now the headquarters of the Society) was taken for soldiers' 
billets. Much damage was done during the occupation for which the meeting 
was never repaid (vide W. Beck and Ball, London Friends' Meetings, 
pp. 169-70). 


But the replies from the northern counties to the Yearly Meeting 
of 1746 showed that in the actual seat of war there had been 
delinquencies or weakness among Friends. In Cumberland, the 
first time for many years, Trophy Money had been levied, " and 
the same in collecting being mixt with other taxes, could not well 
separate so innocently paid, ... it being a critical conjecture 
in the county at that time." This last reason casts some doubt on 
the absolute " innocence " of the payment. 

In Lancashire " many Friends have been taxed towards the 
maintenance of the militia and have paid the same," and in West- 
morland " many of our Friends have paid Trophy Money, and 
some going under our name have not stood clear of bearing arms." 
The Quaker gift to the Army, however, which at the time created 
considerable interest, was apparently not made in any official way, 
as no trace of it can be found in the records. The Gentleman's 
Magazine, in a list of many subscriptions to buy necessities for the 
army, stated " the Quakers sent down ten thousand woollen waist- 
coats to keep them warm." Longstaffe's History of Darlington says 
that a large proportion of these garments were furnished by Friends 
in Darlington and the neighbourhood in four or five days, at their 
own expense. 

According to James Ray of Whitehaven, a volunteer who wrote 
a personal account of the campaign, the Duke of Cumberland's 
army received the gift when encamped at Meriden near Coventry, 
on December 6th, the day the Highland army withdrew from 
Derby. 1 

Ray says of the Quakers that they are " a quiet, peaceable people 
that don't swear and fight for the King as we do," and after some 
exemplary remarks on the folly of profanity, he continues : " it is 
contrary to their principle to bear arms, yet they contribute to them 
that do, in paying the regular taxes due to the Government. I have 
not met with any . . . but what were zealous friends to the 
Government." He also quotes some jingling couplets extemporized 
by a soldier (probably himself) praising the " Friendly Waistcoats " 
and promising to 

Exert my utmost art, my utmost might 

And fight for those whose creed forbids to fight. 

1 Vide Gentleman's Magazine, 1745, p. 514 ; Boswell, Life of Johnson, 1783 ; 
J. J. Green, Souvenir of Address to King Edward VII, p. 75 ; and Ray, Compleat 
History of the Rebellion, quoted by Hicks, Quakeriana, March 1894, p. 7. 



Some Friends were very vigorous in their loyalty. Luke Hinde, 
the Quaker printer and bookseller in 1746, published a pamphlet 
entitled " A summary account of the marches, behaviour, and 
plunders of the rebels, from the time of their coming into England, 
to the retaking of Carlisle by the King's forces, under the command 
of the Duke of Cumberland. By an Eye-witness of many of the 
facts herein related." Most of the stories refer to the neighbourhood 
of Carlisle, and the eye-witness was probably the Quaker Thomas 
Savage of Clifton, near Carlisle, although he discreetly veils his name. 
On the night of December 1 8th the Jacobites had planned an ambush 
for the Duke of Cumberland's army near Clifton. " As it pleased 
God X s S ge (a friend who lived in Clifton), hearing of their 
base and treacherous designs, and being very uneasy how he might 
give the Duke intelligence thereof, his son, with hearty goodwill 
(though with the hazard of his life) went privately out of his father's 
house," and succeeded in warning the English army. A skirmish 
followed, in which seventy prisoners were taken, but the main body 
escaped into Scotland, leaving a small garrison in Carlisle, which 
surrendered on December 30th. Xhe Duke of Cumberland, the 
Duke of Richmond, and the Duke of Kingston quartered them- 
selves in Savage's house, and the Quaker was filled with enthusiasm 
for his royal and noble guests. In this, indeed, he was not singular, 
for the Yearly Meeting of May 1746 presented to George II a 
congratulatory address signed by two hundred and eighty-six Friends, 
which far outdid even the rhetoric of 1727. It is hard to believe 
that the same body which sent out the emphatic warning to its 
members two years before was so dazzled by the Hanoverian throne 
as to pen the following phrases : 

" We humbly beg leave to approach thy Royal Presence, with 
united hearts, to congratulate thee upon the deliverance of these 
kingdoms from the late impending dangers with a joy as sincere 
as the occasion is signal. We beheld with grief and detestation an 
ungrateful and deluded people combined against thy person and 
government, wickedly attempting to subject a free people to the 
miseries of a Popish and Arbitrary power. 

" As none among all thy Protestant subjects exceed us in an 
aversion to the tyranny, idolatry, and superstition of the Church 
of Rome, so none lie under more just apprehension of immediate 
danger from the destructive consequence, or have greater cause 
to be thankful to the Almighty for the interposition of his providence 


in our preservation. A preservation so remarkable makes it our 
indispensable duty also to acknowledge the King's paternal care 
for the safety of his people, of which he hath given the most assured 
pledge in permitting one of his Royal Offspring to expose himself 
to the greatest of dangers for their security. 

" May we, and all thy faithful subjects, demonstrate the sincerity 
of our gratitude for this signal instance of the divine favour, by the 
deepest humiliation and by turning every one of us from the evil 
of our ways. . . . We earnestly beseech him, by whom Kings 
reign and Princes decree justice, that his providence may ever attend 
thy Royal Person and Family, and make even the efforts of thine 
enemies conducive to the establishment of thy throne in perfect 
peace, give success to thy endeavours for settling the general tran- 
quillity of Europe on a lasting foundation, and grant that an unin- 
terrupted race of Kings of thy Royal Progeny may perpetuate the 
blessings of thy reign to our posterity." 

It is obvious that prosperous Friends, in common with other 
members of the wealthy middle class, had been badly frightened 
on that Black Friday when the invaders reached Derby and the 
Bank of England only averted a dirastrous run by paying out in 
sixpences. But Cumberland, the " Royal Offspring," was at this 
time still a popular hero. The House of Commons had voted him 
an annuity of 25,000 and City guilds were busy enrolling him 
as their freeman. " As the news of the cruelties committed in 
Scotland filtered through to the public, a reaction of opinion mani- 
fested itself. When in July it was proposed to make him free of 
one of the City Companies an Alderman said aloud : ' Then let 
it be of the Butchers,' and ' Billy the Butcher ' was the nickname 
by which he was thenceforth known." 1 

A more characteristic activity of this Yearly Meeting was the 
arrangement for a general collection to relieve the losses sustained 
by Friends in the North and Midlands " in the late rebellion." 
The distribution of the fund was undertaken by the Meeting for 

In 1748, the long European war was brought to a close by the 
D eace of Aix-la-Chapelle. The Yearly Meeting Epistle welcomed 
' with joy " the prospect of peace, and the Meeting for Sufferings, 
>r rather some of its more ardent members, undertook a piece of 
ropaganda. The translation of Barclay's Apology into various 
Political History of England, ix. 407. 


languages and its circulation at home and abroad, had often engaged 
the attention of the leaders of the Society. Now, on the suggestion 
of Simeon Warner, it was proposed to follow Barclay's own example 
at the time of the Treaty of Nimeguen, and to send copies of the 
Apology to the plenipotentiaries at Aix-la-Chapelle. 1 The proposal 
was accepted, and a few Friends, amongst them David Barclay, 
the Apologist's son, were appointed to carry it into effect. 

In August a letter they had drafted in English and Latin to 
accompany the books was approved and signed, and the consignment 
dispatched to a Dutch Friend, Jan Van der Werf, for personal 
delivery to the Ambassadors. The minutes of the Meeting for 
Sufferings and an abstract in the Book of Cases of the correspon- 
dence with Van der Werf give a clear picture of this interesting 
episode. Seventy-four Apologies were sent in Spanish, Latin, French, 
English, Danish, and High Dutch, and the worthy Dutch Friend 
was asked to take an " Intelligent Person " with him to assist in 
the distribution. The Memorial to the Ambassadors told those 
dignitaries that nearly a century before the people called Quakers 
had been raised up to publish to the world, " amongst other gospel 
truths . . . the inconsistency of wars and fighting with the example 
and precepts of Christ and the doctrine of his followers." They 
are constrained " in love to the whole race of mankind, to promote 
the knowledge and practice of these blessed doctrines, as they tend 
so manifestly to extirpate violence, injustice, and all the dreadful 
calamities of war." Hence they send for " candid perusal " the 
Apology, which, besides setting forth their " belief in relation to 
wars," also gives a view of the Christian religion in its original 
simplicity. The Epistle ends with a fervent hope that the negotiators 
may be able " to perpetuate the blessings of peace to the States you 
represent, and through them to the whole world." 3 

In November 1748 the Meeting received from Jan van der Werf 
an account of his stewardship. He had spent several days in Aix-la- 
Chapelle in September (his expenses and those of his companion, 
30, were carefully set out and punctually defrayed by a bill from 
London), and on the whole received much courtesy from the 
Ambassadors. Although, in Quaker fashion, he kept his hat on 
at the interviews, none took offence, " no, not the Pope's Nuncio." 

1 Meeting for Sufferings, 5th mo. 15, 1748 and following months. Book of 
Cases, iii. 42 foil. 

The English version is in D. Tracts C. 108. 


There is much that is characteristic in his report of the different 
Ambassadors. The French, rinding the book was " about religious 
affairs," said he had no occasion for it, while the Prussian, after much 
questioning on the origin of the Quakers, said, " we should come 
into Prussia, where we might enjoy all freedom." The Bavarian 
Ambassador was churlish and would not take books which he could 
not buy, but the Spanish, Genose, and Swedish were all very cour- 
teous. The Spaniard offered a " Large Piece of Gold " for the 
books, and when that was declined, pressed a " dish of coffee or 
chocolate or whatsoever else we chose " upon his visitors, promising 
to convey one copy of the Apology to his King. The Nuncio, too, 
;who was quartered in the Dominican convent, was very friendly, 
and although some part of the Friends' memorial "seemed to 
displease," he passed it over with the remark, that: "There were 
many Christians and many books wrote, but true and real Christi- 
janity consisted in obeying the commands of Christ," to which Van 
ider Werf fully agreed. The Dutchman was closely questioned 
on the religion of his forefathers, and replied that as far as he knew 
;they were all " believers in the Almighty God and His Son Christ 
jjesus and His grace to the sanctifying their consciences." " That 
is a good faith," said the suave ecclesiastic, " but yet there are some 
jnecessary circumstances to attend it." He then put to the Quaker 
'the direct question : Could Catholics be saved ? " I cannot judge 
pther men," replied Van der Werf, and pleaded the difficulty of 
;>peaking through an interpreter as an excuse for any more full answer. 
A few days after his return to Amsterdam came news that peace 
vas signed. " The fruit of years of expenditure of blood and treasure," 
vrites a modern historian, " was the status quo ante helium " ; * 
i/et good Van der Werf cherished the hope, as he told English Friends, 
[!' that this seed sown might be prosperous through God's blessing." 

The Meeting for Sufferings closed the episode in December 1748, 
j>y instructing him to distribute the surplus copies of the Apology 

mong foreigners visiting Holland, especially those that might attend 

he Meeting-house. 

The half-century of quietude was over, and soon Friends both 

t home and in America were forced to set their house in order 

nd to build up again the weak places. 

1 Political History of England, ix. 418. 





The Seven Years War opened in 1755, after the brief truce of 
Aix-la-Chapelle. The American War, the rise of the new Republic 
across the Atlantic, the French Revolution, and the long struggle 
between France and Europe all followed the bloody campaigns 
which made the names of Clive, of Wolfe and of Chatham, house- 
hold words to the English people. 

Praise enough 
To fill the ambition of a private man 
That Chatham's language was his mother tongue 
And Wolfe's great name compatriot with his own. 1 

In the smaller world of the Society of Friends, also, these were 1 
years of stress. In England and in America it entered the period 1 
as a prosperous, inoffensive, and somewhat cautious body. In 
England, and yet more in America, it emerged after a testing time, 
smaller in numbers, perhaps for the time narrower in outlook, and 
yet with a clearer view of some of the foundation principles of the 
Quaker faith. It was, in particular, the emphatic testimony against 
war and against slavery that had stripped the Society of so many j 
members, not a few among them Friends of standing and influence. 
The labours of John Woolman fall within the first half of this 
period, and if to any one man, then assuredly to him must be 
attributed the awakening of the conscience of the Society. 2 He was 
himself an embodied conscience, and he witnessed for complete 
sincerity and pureness of heart in all the relations of life. His brief 
visit to England in 1772, sealed by his death, left an abiding impres- 
sion upon English Friends. 

In 1758 and 1763 the Yearly Meeting Epistle had touched 

1 Cowper, Task, Book II. * For John Woolman, vide Chapter XIII. 



: -'" 

1 1 


the question of the slave trade, but it was in the year 1772 that the 
Epistle opened the long series of protests against both the trade and 
slavery itself, which were not to cease until the crime came to an 
end in British possessions. 1 

Quakers did much for the cause of the slave, but the living 
interest created by such a cause perhaps did as much for Quakerism. 
The Society gained courage and independence as it learned to plead 
for a despised race. The term " Protestant Dissenters " quietly 
disappears from its memorials and addresses during the reign of 
George III, and with it much of the flowery style of the earlier 
eighteenth-century documents. 

The pressure of the Seven Years War led necessarily to an 
increased vigilance by the Yearly Meeting over individual short- 
comings. In 1757 the Epistle again called attention to " that great 
inconsistency of being concerned in privateers, letters of Marque, 
or ships armed in a warlike manner," and recommended subordinate 
meetings to keep a watchful eye over their members. Another 
passage expressed the better side of eighteenth-century Quietism. 
" And, dear friends, as it hath pleased the Almighty to reveal unto 
mankind His son Jesus Christ, the peaceable Saviour, let it be our 
steady concern to demonstrate to the world that we are His followers 
Dy bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit, ' love, joy, peace, long- 
iuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.' 
A.nd as we are called out of wars and fightings, so let them be as 
leldom as possible the subjects of our conversation ; but let a holy 
we rest upon us, to abide in that power which gives dominion 
|)ver the hopes and fears of an unstable world." 

Next year the advice against privateering was repeated, and 
ihe testimony against war was extracted from the eighth query 
oy the Yearly Meeting, and made the subject of an independent 

[uery, the twelfth. This new query read as follows : 

" Do you bear a faithful testimony against bearing arms or 

>aying Trophy Money, or being in any way concerned in privateers^ 

stters of Marque, or in dealing in prize goods as such ? " 

The Epistles of this period repeatedly caution Friends against 

'1 any way defrauding the revenue (the subject of another query) 

1 The subject occurs in more than half the Epistles of the sixty years from 
772 to 1833. John Woolman, in 1772, felt that English Friends were "mixed " 
ith the slave trade, through their share in supplying manufactured goods for the 
irgoes of outward-bound slave ships. 


and against dealing in " run " or smuggled goods. As usual, the 
emendation in the query resulted in an awakening of conscience 
among the local meetings. Bristol and Ireland both feared that there 
had been some dealings in prize goods, while Kent reported its 
" unspeakable pleasure and satisfaction " to find no instances of 
participation in " so iniquitous a trade." Since 1 755 the Seven Years' 
War had been rolling across three continents, till in 1759 the tide 
turned against France. The Yearly Meeting was constrained to 
remind Friends that public rejoicing over victories was inconsistent 
with a refusal to take part in war. Next year the result was seen by 
a report from London Friends of damage " for not illuminating 
windows " to the extent of nearly ,i I. 1 

In 1760 a joint Committee of the Meeting for Sufferings and 
the Morning Meeting drew up a paper of Advice " to be dispersed 
among Friends' Families respecting the keeping their shops shut 
on Fast Days and the illuminating of windows on what are called 
rejoicing nights," of which two thousand were printed and distributed 
to the Monthly Meetings. 2 This " Tender Advice and Caution " 
referred any waverers to the light which had guided early Friends. 
" In this light . . . they not only saw that they must cease from 
outward hostility, but that their conversation and conduct must be 
consistent, and of a piece throughout. As they could not join with 
others in shedding the blood of their fellow creatures, neither could 
they be one with them in rejoicing for the advantages obtained 
by such bloodshed ; as they could not fight with the fighters, neither 
could they triumph with the conquerors ; and therefore they were 
not to be prevailed upon to make a show of conformity by placing 
lights in any part of the fronts of their houses ; but patiently suffered 
whatever violences and abuses were committed against them, for 
the sake of their peaceable Christian Testimony." 

1 Isaac Richardson (born 1707) "has left it on record that the mob of Whitby 
three times broke his windows and destroyed his property, because he, like other 
Friends, refused to illuminate his house on occasions of public rejoicing. Fifty 
years later ... in Sunderland, blazing tar barrels were rolled along the streets to 
burn down the house of a Friend who would not illuminate on some occasion when 
political feeling ran high. The work had begun when a gentleman whose sympathies 
were with Friends, but who, not being a member of their Society, was not bound 
by its regulations, hurried to the barracks and appealed to the officer in command. 
The soldiers were soon on the spot, and the half-burned house was saved " [Records 
of a Quaker Family, by A. B. Richardson, p. 17). 

* Morning Meeting Book, 2th mo. 25, 1760. I am indebted for this passage to 
A. Neave Brayshaw. 


Their successors in the Society should not lightly abandon this 
testimony. " The Spirit of Truth . . . will unite us to itself, 
and lead us into unity one with another, baptizing us into one body, 
and causing us to drink of one Spirit, and doubtless would bring 
all to bear the same Testimony in every essential point of faith and 
conduct, and would ever preserve us from differing so far as to appear 
contrary to each other, and thereby from laying waste our ancient 
Testimony and, by that means, depriving the body of the strength 
of Unity. And though mere uniformity is not the essential part of 
religion, yet it is the indispensable duty of all to endeavour after 
the Unity of the Spirit, which, as it prevails, naturally produceth 
a consistency and harmony, both in reality and appearance, that all, 
being gathered into the same Spirit, may see by the same light, and 
may, like the primitive Church, be of one heart and of one soul. 
. . . Therefore let no branch of the Testimony of Truth be opposed 
as insignificant or treated with contempt." 

The same difficulty was to recur in the Napoleonic War. 
In the meantime the pressure of war had led to army re- 
organization and extension. In March 1756 a Militia Bill was 
introduced with Pitt's support, the aim of which was to establish a 
regularly trained army of reserve. This was passed in the Commons, 
but thrown out by the Lords, as tending " to make this a military 
country and government." In 1757 the Bill was passed into law 
in a modified form. It was, however, unpopular, and on the attempt 
to enforce it in the autumn, riots broke out in several counties. 1 
Friends watched the matter anxiously through a vigilant Committee 
of the Meeting for Sufferings. The first Militia Bill was considered 
on its introduction and judged likely " to expose the Society to very 
grievous suffering." A deputation approached the Chairman of the 
House of Commons Committee, who assured them " that it could 
not be possible to obtain a total exemption from some expense, but 
that nothing of this kind was intended to be inflicted as any punishment 
for not complying, but as a reasonable compensation to the country." 
He accordingly suggested a clause by which, if the ballot fell upon a 
Quaker a substitute should be hired, and the expense met by distraint 
, on the Quaker's goods. However, the fact that the Bill was " dropt 
, in the House of Lords " prevented further action. Next year the 

1 Vide Gentleman's Magazine, 1757. Cowper in the Task (" Winter Evening," 
613-58), nearly thirty years later, gave a vivid description of what seemed to him 
the social evils of the three years' militia training. 


new Bill was passed into law, with this clause exempting Quakers 
from personal service. In June the Meeting for Sufferings with just 
pride transcribed into its records a minute of the Yearly Meeting 
expressing satisfaction with the " care and pains " taken by the former 
meeting in the matter. A new and comprehensive Militia Bill of 
1 762 replaced this experimental Act and remained in force for twenty- 
four years. Two clauses especially affected Friends. By one it was 
provided that if a Quaker were chosen by lot to serve and refused 
or neglected to appear and to take the oath or to provide a substitute, 
the Deputy-Lieutenants or other local authorities, " upon as reasonable 
terms as may be," should provide a substitute to serve for three years, 
and levy a distraint upon the goods of the Quaker to defray the 
expense. If the distraint provided more money than was required, 
the surplus was to be returned and the Quaker had the right of appeal 
should the distress seem unduly oppressive. Under another clause, 
when a rate for the expenses of the militia was levied upon any 
parish, and Quaker householders refused to contribute, the justice 
of the peace was authorized to recover the amount by process of 

The Meeting for Sufferings was entrusted by the Yearly 
Meeting with the task of circulating information about the provisions 
of the Act. But it proved more timid than the larger body. On 
June 17, 1762, a sub-committee reported to the Meeting that: 
" We are of opinion that it will not be safe to put the advice, left 
by the Yearly Meeting respecting the Militia into print, inasmuch 
as those mistaken or malignant persons who are continually watching 
against the Society for evil, might make a pernicious use of them 
by representing Friends as taking upon them publicly to control and 
oppugn the acts of the legislature." Hence they recommended that 
manuscript copies of the said advices should be circulated among 
the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings, while only the special clauses 
of the Act relating to Friends should be printed for distribution. 
The advices, as they appear in the pages of the Yearly Meeting 
records, do not seem to the modern reader either seditious or dangerous. 
Probably the declaration that "it is our sense and judgment that we 
cannot, consistent with our well-known principles," pay the militia 
rates or hold offices involving the duty of their collection, was the 
sentence which roused the fears of the Meeting for Sufferings. But 
this opinion is immediately followed by a direction to the local 
Meetings that " Friends should be tenderly advised to avoid giving 


occasion of reproach by any unjustifiable endeavours to evade or 
elude the law, and that in all cases wherein they allege a conscientious 
scruple for not actively paying what may be demanded of them, 
that they manifest by a patient and Christian conduct under such 
sufferings as may attend in consequence thereof that their scruples 
are real and sincere." 

In any case, the Society as a whole was prepared to uphold the 
position of the Yearly Meeting. From 1761 until 1815, these 
distraints for the militia and other local rates levied for war purposes 
are constantly recorded and reach a formidable total. They were 
not finally abolished until the army re-organization of 1848. The 
militia was included, as an occasion for peace testimony, in the 
twelfth query in 1761. In the following year, deputations appointed 
from the Yearly Meeting visited all the Monthly and Quarterly 
Meetings in England to strengthen and encourage them in the 
faith. A few delinquencies, both in regard to the hire of substitutes 
for the militia and also in the arming of ships were found in the 
North and West. In the London district " too many concur with 
others in giving public testimony of joy upon the devastation of 
war and other occasions of illuminating their windows." 

When peace was concluded with France in 1763, the Yearly 
Meeting presented an address to the young King. Though loyal 
and respectful in tone, it is much less adulatory than those offered 
to his grandfather. " To a people " (it runs) " professing that the 
use of arms is to them unlawful, a people who reverence the glorious 
Gospel declaration of good will to men and fervently wish for the 
universal establishment of peace, its return must be highly acceptable. 
To stop the effusion of blood, to ease the burden of thy people, and 
terminate the calamities that affected so large a part of the globe, 
we are persuaded were thy motives to effect the present pacification. 
Motives so just in themselves, so full of benevolence and humanity, 
demand our united and cordial approbation. May the sovereign 
of the Universe, who created all nations of one blood, dispose the 
minds of Princes by such example, to learn other means of reconciling 
their jarring interests and contentions than by the ruin of countries 
and the destruction of mankind." 

George III was not to prove an apt scholar in the art of peace, 
but he returned a kindly answer to the Address. Like Charles II 
he was amused by Quaker simplicities, and maintained a friendly, 
though eccentric, intercourse with individual members of the Society. 


It was perhaps the knowledge of this royal interest that encouraged 
contemporary journalists to make considerable " copy " out of the 
Quakers. The Gentleman 1 s Magazine, for example, between i ^65 
and 1 810, often printed the Yearly Meeting Epistle, or extracts 
from it, in its pages, and allowed its correspondents much latitude 
in friendly and unfriendly criticism of Quaker tenets. 1 This, at 
any rate, made Friends' principles known, and perhaps had some 
influence upon public opinion. 

Peace, however, did not end the militia fines, and Quarterly 
Meetings had to report occasional delinquencies, such as the actual 
enlistment of a member in Yorkshire in 1767 and next year the 
payment of the rate in Derbyshire by some " who plead for the 
same." The old trouble of the " mixed rate " (a militia rate levied 
as part of the poor rate) recurred, and although a Committee of the 
Yearly Meeting which examined the text of the Militia Act in 1770 
declared that any expenditure for such purposes out of the poor rate 
must legally be re-imbursed by a distinct and separate rate, yet the 
difficulty arose year after year in various districts. 

For a few years during the interval of peace the clause concerning 
armed vessels was dropped out of the war query (now the eleventh) 
but the American War made its re-introduction necessary. The 
outbreak of resistance naturally caused grave concern to Friends. 
The Meeting for Sufferings in February 1775 had the courage 
to address the House of Commons in protest against the Bill (one 
of the King's methods of conciliating his rebellious subjects) by which 
the fishermen of Nantucket were to be debarred for ever from the 
use of the Newfoundland fisheries. Of the five thousand inhabitants, 
nine-tenths were Quakers, and the Meeting explained (as the King 
and his advisers well knew) that such a prohibition meant utter 
ruin. In March they made an earnest effort in favour of peace, by 
an address to the King. The plea ran thus : 

" From the intercourse subsisting between us and our brethren 
abroad, for the advancement of piety and virtue, we are persuaded 
there are not, in the extensive dominions, subjects more loyal, 
and more zealously attached to thy Royal person, thy family, and 
Government, than in the Province of America and amongst 
all religious denominations. We presume not to justify the 
excesses committed, nor to inquire into the causes which may 
have produced them ; but, influenced by the principles of that 

1 Vide J.F.H.S., 1916, Nos. 1 and 2. J. J. Green, Notices Relating to Friends 
in the " Gentleman's Magazine," 


religion which proclaims ' Peace on earth and goodwill to men,' 
we heartily beseech thee to stay the sword ; that means may be tried 
to effect, without bloodshed, and all the evils of internecine war, 
a firm and lasting union with our fellow subjects in America." 
The task, they add, is an arduous one ; but they are confident that 
men can be found on both sides of the Atlantic capable of conducting 
such a mediation. Men, indeed, there were, some of them Friends 
or closely connected with Friends, who were spending themselves 
in the effort. Throughout December 1 774 and the following January 
and February Dr. Fothergill and David Barclay, both well-known 
London Friends, were in frequent conference with Franklin, and 
with some of the more moderate members of the English ministry, 
in the attempt to find terms of settlement acceptable both to the 
colonists and the home Government. Franklin, with the advice 
and encouragement of the two Quakers, drafted these terms under 
the modest title, " Hints for a Conversation." They influenced 
Chatham's abortive proposals in the House of Lords on February 1. 
Fothergill, whose profession had brought him into friendly relations 
with leading politicians, showed them to Lord Dartmouth and the 
Speaker, and Barclay to Lord Hyde. With Lord Howe, Franklin 
was carrying on tentative and informal " conversations." There is 
evidence that through Hyde and through Dartmouth, the well- 
intentioned but weak Secretary for the Colonies, the proposals came 
before the Cabinet, or at least before its leading members. But 
the Quakers were much disappointed by the attitude of ministers ; 
when Franklin, in despair, sailed for America, he took with him 
a message from Fothergill to Philadelphia Friends : " Whatever 
specious pretences are offered they are all hollow. . . . Nothing 
very favourable is intended." l 

1 For some of these details, vide Dr. John Fothergill and His Friends, by Dr. R. 
Hingston Fox. There is a minute autobiographical account of the negotiations 
by Franklin in his Memoir (Works, i. 430 foil., edition 1818). See also Sir George 
Trevelyan, The American Revolution, i. c. viii. According to Franklin, Barclay 
was also a prime mover in the " Merchants' Petition " against the war. Fothergill 
was constant in advice and sympathy to American Friends until his death in 1781. 
Franklin always felt esteem for his two fellow workers in the attempt to avert 
war. On Fothergill's death he wrote from his post in Paris to Barclay : 

" I condole with you most sincerely in the loss of our dear friend, Dr. Fothergill. 
I hope that someone who knew him well will do justice to him by an account of 
his life and character. He was a great doer of good. How much might have been 
done, and how much evil prevented if his, your, and my joint endeavours in a 
certain melancholy affair had been attended to ! " 

Franklin was not given to indiscriminate eulogy, least of all of his Quaker 
acquaintances, and this letter is good testimony to Fothergill's merits. 


Although George III heard the address " favourably," he had 
neither the will nor the power to stay the sword. The Epistle, two 
months later, could only express a hope that Friends on both sides 
of the Atlantic might keep clear of " the present heats and commo- 
tions," and entreat members not to make them even the subject 
of conversation. But the mild conservatism of official Quakerdom 
cannot hide its bias. " We cannot consistently join with such as 
form combinations of an hostile nature against any, much less in 
opposition to those providentially placed either in sovereign or 
subordinate authority ; nor can we unite with such as indecently 
asperse or revile them." Other Yearly Epistles of this war period 
express warm sympathy with the sufferings and privations of Friends 
in America, to whom (especially to those of Pennsylvania) generous 
contributions of relief were sent by their fellow members in England 
and Ireland. In 1779 the Epistle gave a plain warning against war 
activities and war profit-making whether by sea or land. Any who 
thus backslide " afford evident tokens that they either prefer the 
gain of a corrupt interest to the convictions of divine light in their 
own conscience, or that they are become insensible to them." Two 
years later the advice was even more emphatic. " Keep clear of 
touching in any respect, or dealing in those things which tend to 
promote the dreadful calamity of war. Let not the love of gain 
be put in competition with the welfare and happiness of mankind." 
The Epistle of 1783, which welcomed the return of peace, for the 
first time mentioned the militia fines as a " suffering " of Friends. 
The war had unmistakably tried the weak places in the Society. 
Some Cornish Friends in time of peace had acquired an interest 
in a " packet employed by the General Post Office," which, on the 
outbreak of war, was " equipped in a warlike manner for defence, 
but with no commission to take prizes, and with positive orders 
to avoid all other ships." The Friends tried to withdraw from the 
concern, but without success, and this mild-mannered mail packet 
eventually captured some French prizes. How these events brought 
a little group of French Quakers to the notice of English Friends 
is told in another chapter. 1 

Not only Yorkshire, but several other seaboard Meetings, had 
to report " deficiencies " in the matter of armed vessels in these 
years when Paul Jones was disturbing the boasted immunity of 
British shores. In 1777 the clause dealing with this branch of 

1 Vide Chapter XVII, p. 469. 





testimony was re-inserted in the query. At Norwich in 1780 " one 
unguarded youth lately enlisted himself in the Army," and another 
joined the militia. Both were dealt with by their meeting. A Welsh 
Friend was concerned in privateers and letters of Marque, but in 
1 78 1 he gave in "a paper of condemnation of the practice, with 
an assurance of renouncing it, to the satisfaction of the meeting 
he belongs to." That same year, Yorkshire, besides the usual 
"sorrowful defection," had to lament over a few members who 
bought prize tobacco at the sales. 

Another vessel part-owned by a Friend, John Warder, in 1 78 1, 
took out letters of Marque without his knowledge, and on the voyage 
to New York captured a Dutch East Indiaman. His share of the 
prize-money was 2,000, which, on the advice of his Monthly 
Meeting in London (Devonshire House), he invested for the benefit 
of the original owners, " whensoever they might be found." He 
had already disposed of his share in the privateer, but when a few 
years later he removed to Philadelphia, his Monthly Meeting refused 
to grant him the usual certificate recommending him to the fellow- 
ship of Philadelphia Friends, on the ground that he had taken no 
steps to restore the money. His duty was evidently pressed upon 
him by his new associates, and at last, in 1799, he transferred to 
the London Monthly Meeting both the principal and interest to be 
refunded to the Dutch owners, or dealt with as Friends might 
think " most consistent with truth and equity." Upon this he received 
his certificate. The London Friends at once inserted an advertise- 
ment in the Dutch papers, and although investigations were 
hampered by the war, yet by 1818 claims amounting with interest 
to 7,000 had been settled. There still remained a balance of 2,000, 
and this was applied to the building and maintenance in Amsterdam 
of an infant school, one of the first of its kind, which is still doing 
useful work. 1 The school was named " Hollandische Welvaren " 
(Holland's Welfare) after the captured ship. 

Bristol Friends on March 1, 1780, spent an unpleasant evening 
from their refusal to illuminate their houses on the news of a 
British victory. The mob broke windows wholesale and threatened 
to burn the houses, while the captain of the local militia, a magistrate, 
led the window-breaking with some of his soldiers. The letter in 

1 Luke Howard, The Yorhhireman, ii. 327. There is a full account of the 
episode and of the present school by Mary Willis Brown in Bulletin of Friends' 
Historical Society (Philadelphia), May 19 16. 


which Joseph Fry of Bristol informed the Meeting for Sufferings 
of the riot, naively adds that " if an account of another victory should 
arrive, we fear a repetition of the insult in a much greater degree." 1 
But the course of the American War was not such as to bring much 
more inconvenience to the Quakers of Bristol. 

The war had long been unpopular with all Englishmen except 
the King and some of the " King's friends," yet even so the Address 
of the Society to George III on the conclusion of peace contained 
a bold passage. 

" When we reflect on the dreadful calamities and the great 
effusion of human blood which ever attend the prosecution of war, 
we deeply lament that any of the professors of the Christian religion 
should continue a practice so inconsistent with the doctrines of 
Christ the Prince of Peace." But George III, stubborn and 
petulant with his trusted ministers and insanely bitter against his 
political opponents, never took offence at Quaker plainness. 
" I always receive " (he replied) " with pleasure your assurance 
of duty and affection to my person and family, and do so particularly 
upon the event of peace. You may be assured of my constant 
protection, as your uniform attachment to my Government, and 
peaceable disposition are highly acceptable to me." In this same 
year, 1783, the first petition against the slave trade, signed by 273 
Quakers, was presented by the Yearly Meeting to the House of 
Commons. 2 Its promoters had been well received by Fox and North, 
leaders of the Coalition, and Lord John Cavendish, Chancellor of 
the Exchequer. 

In the House North, in some kindly phrases, welcomed the 
action of " the most benevolent Society in the Universe," but the 
address was allowed to lie upon the table. The Society for the Aboli- 
tion of the Slave Trade was formed in 1787, with ten Quakers 
on the first committee of twelve members, and through weary 
years their help in time, influence, and money was ungrudgingly 
given to Clarkson and Wilberforce. One result of this intercourse 
was the awakening in Clarkson of a great interest in the Society, 
which eventually led him in 1807 to publish in three volumes 
a Portraiture of Quakerism. This work, though not free from 

1 Meeting for Sufferings, 3rd mo. 17, 1780. 

* Book of Cases, iii. 197. A Friend, William Southeby, petitioned the 
Pennsylvania Assembly against slavery in 1 7 1 2 (Sharp less, Quakers in the Revolution, 
p. 232). 


inaccuracy, was in many respects a sympathetic study of Friends, 
and no doubt introduced a knowledge of their views and character 
into circles which had hitherto been prejudiced against them. In his 
introduction Clarkson remarks as a trait of Quaker character that 
" whenever they can be brought to argue upon political questions, 
they reason upon principles and not upon consequences" ; the long 
exposition of their " tenet on war," which fills nearly a hundred 
pages of his third volume, opens with the emphatic declaration 
that " there is no such character as that of a Quaker soldier. A 
Quaker is always able to avoid the regular army, because the 
circumstance of entering into it is generally a matter of choice. 
But where he has no such choice, as is the case in the militia, he 
either submits, if he has property, to distraint upon it ; or if he has 
not, to prison." This statement is interesting, as showing what, 
in the view of an onlooker, was the general practice of the Friends 
in regard to the militia, even at a time when Quarterly Meetings 
were lamenting over the " sorrowful deficiencies " among their 

From the allusion to prison it will be seen that the hand of 
the law gradually tightened upon Quakers. In the earlier Militia 
Acts an ordinary delinquent who refused or evaded service when 
balloted was liable to three months' imprisonment if he proved 
unable to pay the costs of a substitute. The clauses relating to 
Friends made provision only for fine or distraint, and the case of a 
young apprentice, or other Friend of small means, was not con- 
sidered. Occasionally a magistrate, willing to stretch the utmost 
rigour of the law, sent such a Friend to prison. The Book of Cases 
shows the vigilance of the Meeting for Sufferings in maintaining 
Friends' legal rights. In 1759 it obtained an opinion from 
Bicknell, K.C., that the Act gave no power to imprison Quakers. 
He added, " I apprehend that the legislature, out of tenderness 
towards the Quakers' religious principles or scruples, who hold it 
unlawful to bear arms or fight in war, did not intend to make them 
liable to personal punishment." Under the Act of 1762 a Friend, 
Daniel Massey, was imprisoned at Chester. Dunning, the great 
Whig lawyer, was appealed to, and considered that the sufferer had a 
right to apply for his discharge by a writ of Habeas Corpus. In the 
time of the American War two cases tested the same point of law. 

Bernard Harrison was a young servant of David Barclay. In 
1776 he was drawn for the militia at Standon, Hertfordshire, but 


had no property on which distress could be levied, " save his clothes." 
The Hertford magistrates in these circumstances, when he " inti- 
mated his religious objection to the bearing of arms," proposed 
to commit him to gaol. His master took up the matter, showing the 
justices copies of the legal opinions already quoted. To this they 
replied that these were out of date. Nothing daunted, David Barclay 
proposed that both sides should obtain a fresh opinion, which was 
done. The Deputy-Lieutenants took the case to Lloyd Kenyon, 
later Lord Chief Justice, who confessed that the Act " was not as 
explicit as one could wish," but was " inclined to think " that a 
justice had power to commit a Quaker. Barclay, however, was 
encouraged to persevere by the support of several magistrates, who 
(as he told the Meeting for Sufferings) " reprobated the opinion 
in severe terms, and said if the Society did not defend the particular 
privilege which Parliament had given them, they did not deserve 
it ; that it was a Common Cause and so notoriously known that an 
Englishman cannot legally be deprived of his Liberty without a 
positive direction in an Act of Parliament that there could not be 
a shadow of risk in defending the privilege." He applied to Thurlow, 
then Attorney-General, and shortly after Lord Chancellor. The 
reply was emphatic : 

" I am of opinion that a Quaker cannot be legally committed 
by virtue of the Act, and consequently that if the Commitment 
pursues the case, he may be discharged by Habeas Corpus." 

To this the Deputy-Lieutenants submitted. Bernard Harrison 
was excused service, and a fresh ballot taken in Standon to fill his 
place. The Meeting for Sufferings took steps to inform all Quarterly 
and Monthly Meetings of the case, sending to them copies of 
Thurlow's opinion. In 1782 Thomas French of Sibford found 
himself in the same position, and though a fresh ballot was taken 
no one could be found to serve. The militia officer concerned pressed, 
not for imprisonment, but for the conscription of French on the 
ground that the former punishment was by no means adequate 
at a time of national danger. He rested this claim on an amending 
Act of 1779 (19 Geo. Ill, c. 72) which provided that when a 
person without effects declined to serve, his " name shall be entered 
on the bill and he shall be handed over to some proper officer of 
the regiment or company for which he was drawn, and be compelled 
to serve for the full term of three years . . . and be liable to the 
same punishments as if regularly enlisted. Friends claimed that 


this provision did not apply to members of their Society. Keynon's 
opinion was again invoked. In the five years' interval he had become 
Attorney-General and he had, seemingly, made up his mind on 
points of legal construction, for he replied in decisive terms : 

" It would be harsh measure if the legislature made any law 
pressing upon tender consciences, and if any clause affords two 
constructions it would be reasonable to adopt that construction 
which avoided so great severity." The fine, he added, levied on a 
Quaker was not punitive, but only sufficient to provide a substitute, 
" and in all this the Quaker is to be passive and not active." Another 
amending Act of 1778 had also threatened some unnecessary 
hardships to Quakers. By it, as introduced to the House of Com- 
mons, to prevent false claims no person could be accepted as a 
Quaker within the meaning of the Act, unless he produced a certi- 
ficate of acknowledgment from two Quaker householders. If he 
then refused to serve and was possessed of no property, the distraint 
was to be levied on the property of the certifying Quakers. The 
Meeting for Sufferings, however, applied at once to Members of 
Parliament and to the Speaker, with the result that this latter clause 
was dropped. Yet another Act in 1786 (26 Geo. 3, c. 107) made 
a breach in the Quaker immunity from imprisonment. If a 
Quaker (such is the effect of the clause) has no goods upon which 
to distrain, although in the opinion of the Deputy-Lieutenants 
he is able, if willing, to pay the sum of 10, then "it shall be 
lawful " for them to commit him to gaol for three months, or until 
payment be made. The power was thus permissive and not 
obligatory. It was little used until war hardened the temper of the 
authorities, although in 1788 George Gibson, a well-known Friend 
J of Saffron Walden, reported to the Meeting for Sufferings that 
John Bush, from the neighbouring town of Thaxted, was imprisoned 
on this account at Chelmsford, and that no relief could be obtained. 
Militia sufferings everywhere, as reported by the Quarterly Meetings, 
were heavy this year. The Yearly Meeting, becoming aware " that 
the practice of arming ships prevails in some trades in time of peace " 
(presumably those which plied near the haunts of Algerine corsairs), 
directed that the whole of the eleventh query should be answered 
every year. 

In 1790 a Written Epistle was sent out by the Yearly Meeting 
to its subordinates in reference to the queries, the replies to which 
in future are no longer summarized on the minutes. It utters an 


emphatic condemnation of all warlike practices, including the manu- 
facture or sale of arms, " and as warlike preparations are making 
in this country, we entreat Friends to be watchful, lest any be drawn 
into loans, arming or hiring out their ships, or otherwise promoting 
the destruction of the human species." The warning against loans 
is evidence both of the change in the nature of military resources 
and of the increasing wealth of many Friends. The war query 
in 1792 in a re-arrangement of the series, returned to its old 
position of eighth, and was simplified to : " Are Friends faithful 
in our testimony against bearing arms, and being in any manner 
concerned in the militia, in privateers, letters of Marque, or armed 
vessels, and dealing in prize goods ? " In a few months war was 
upon them. The Correspondence of Charles James Fox gives a 
lively picture of the anxiety with which English Liberals followed 
the gradual estrangement of the French and English Governments. 
English Quakers, as a body, had little sympathy with the Revolu- 
tion, but their horror at the catastrophe was as keen. Cobden, who 
was not in the habit of making statements at random, declared at 
the Manchester Peace Conference in January 1853, that "the 
Society of Friends co-operated with Mr. Fox and his colleagues 
in trying to prevent that most unrighteous and most unhappy war 
of the French Revolution. I find that Mr. Gurney of Norwich 
corresponded constantly with Mr. Fox in the House of Commons, 
and that Mr. Fox corresponded with Mr. Gurney, entreating him 
to get up a county meeting in Norfolk and encouraging him to get 
up numerous petitions from Norwich." l 

On January 25, 1793, the Meeting for Sufferings passed the 
following minute : " This Meeting, being weightily impressed 
with a sense of the calamities attendant on war, the inconsistency 
thereof with Christianity, and the present prospect of such an event 
taking place, concludes to adjourn to to-morrow morning at ten 
to take the affair into further consideration. John Ady is directed 
to summon the absent members." Next day the Meeting adopted 
a strongly worded address to the King against the threatened 

" We cannot at this time discharge our duty to God, to thee, 
and to our fellow subjects, many of whose precious lives may be the 

1 The speech is given in the Herald of Peace, February 1853, and in Cobden's 
Speeches (edited Bright and Thorold Rogers, pp. 527-8), <vide also Morley, 
Life of Cobden, ch. xxi. 


victims of the impending hostilities, without beseeching thee to 
exert thy constitutional power to prevent a measure which may 
consign to danger and to death thousands of our fellow countrymen." 
The protection of the kingdom rests with God rather than with 
any armed strength ; the pursuit of righteousness, and in particular 
the abolition of the slave trade, will give the nations favour in His 
sight. The address was presented by three Friends whose company 
was declared to be " acceptable " by a message from the Secretary 
of State. To them the King returned a friendly but unhopeful 
answer : 

" Whatever steps I may feel myself bound to take for the security 
of my people, I am not the less inclined to judge favourably of the 
motives which have led you to present this address, and you may 
depend upon the continuance of my protection." 

The twenty-one years of war which followed were difficult 
ones for the Quakers, as the national resources were drawn upon 
with increasing rigour to meet the growing power of Napoleon. 
Nor was the Society entirely united. Some wealthy Friends who 
led a life of decorous luxury and sat loose in many respects to the 
generally accepted code of their fellow members, shed their peace 
views, or, in some cases, had none to shed. To give one instance, 
of Samuel Hoare the banker, it was said : " Trusting in the 
superiority of our Navy, and calculating the length of time which 
must elapse before a fleet could be raised, he never believed it possible 
that Buonaparte could make good a landing in this country 
Educated in the principles of a sect reprobating war, he looked upon 
it in the present state of society as a necessary evil. Defensive war 
he regarded as lawful ; the nice point was determined when it 
became so ; for where preventive measures are not had recourse to, 
defence may become impossible. . . . Self-defence he considered 
lawful, and that it is the duty of a man to defend his country." * 

Quakers of this type seldom gave offence by any overt act of war- 
like tendency, though they might gradually drift away from the 
Society or be disowned on other grounds. On the north-east coast 
Quaker shipowners and sea-captains were faced by the old dilemma. 
Disownments " for carrying guns on ships " were not so numerous 
as in the American War, but the process was more summary and 
less attempt was made to reclaim the delinquent. It is to this period 
that many of the often-repeated stories of warlike Quakers belong. 
1 Memoirs of Samuel Hoare (1751-1815), by his daughter and widow, 191 1. 


When name, place, and date are wanting, these are difficult to verify, 
and their details do not carry conviction. 

As the war continued and was felt at home in high prices and 
scarcity, an attempt was made by some unscrupulous journals to 
divert unpopularity from the Ministry to the Quakers. A consider- 
able number of Friends were engaged in the corn trade, either as 
millers or dealers, and the Morning Advertiser in 1799 charged 
them with the responsibility for the high price of corn and bread 
by forming a combination to monopolize the supply. The poor 
were starving for two or three years past William Allen the 
chemist and other Friends had been maintaining a soup kitchen 
in Spital fields for the relief of the worst cases of distress and when 
in 1800 the price of the quartern loaf rose, first to fifteen pence 
and then to seventeen pence halfpenny, the more desperate among 
the sufferers were ready to vent their anger upon any scapegoat. 
There were some ugly riots in the City and East London. William 
Allen noted in his Journal that at his father's burial the Whitechapel 
rabble " proved very disturbing." One mob attacked Robert 
Howard's factory in Old Street, in the belief that stores of grain 
were concealed there. 1 But, though the owner would call in no 
assistance, his workpeople were not Quakers, and beat off the attack 
with their wooden stools, the only weapons at hand. Robert Howard 
published a brief vindication quaintly entitled, " A Few Words 
on Corn and Quakers," which it is unlikely that his assailants ever 
read. In October the Meeting for Sufferings was under " deep 
concern at the calumnies which Friends lie under on account of the 
dearness of corn," and after some discussion of the newspaper attacks 
a statement was drawn up for publication in the Press, declaring 
their abhorrence of the "wicked and baneful practices" of combina- 
tion and monopoly. Some help came to them from an unimpeach- 
able quarter. The Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor 
had watched the work of Quakers in Spital fields and elsewhere, 
and its Committee, meeting in December 1800, with Shute, 
Bishop of Durham, in the chair, passed unanimously the following 
resolution : 

" That it appearing to the Society that the labouring classes 

in this metropolis have derived the greatest benefit, during the severity 

of the preceding winter, from the personal labours and liberal contribu- 

1 In John Halifax the Quaker miller of fiction is guilty of thus holding back 
corn for a higher price. 


tions of the Friends, commonly called Quakers, it is incumbent 
upon the Society to bear public testimony to these exertions and 
to express our desire to co-operate with them in their meritorious 
endeavours to diminish the distresses of their fellow subjects. 
Resolved, that this Resolution, signed by the President, be inserted 
in the public papers." J 

Philanthropy, indeed, was the main refuge of the Society in those 
years of war and unrest. Friends took part in the struggle against 
slavery, and helped young Lancaster, at that time himself a Quaker, 
with his plans for national education. From its foundation in 1804 
three Friends were on the Committee of the Bible Society ; as 
the war opened, William Tuke began at York his pioneer work 
in the treatment of insanity, and before its close Elizabeth Fry was 
visiting the prisoners in Newgate. None of these movements, except 
that against slavery, was officially adopted by the Society, which 
still contained many conservative members who feared that such 
" creaturely activity " might lead Friends astray ; but the exhorta- 

' tions of the Yearly Epistles throughout the war are in evident harmony 
with the new conception of social responsibility. 

" Cultivate, with unwearied assiduity and patience, all those 
dispositions which make for peace," urged the Epistle of 1797 

; a year later, " let all be careful not to seek or accept profit by any 
concern in the preparations so extensively making for war : for 
how reproachfully inconsistent would it be to refuse an active 
compliance with warlike measures, and at the same time not to 
hesitate to enrich ourselves by the commerce and other circum- 
stances dependent on war." In 1802 Friends, after the Peace of 
Amiens, were reminded " that it peculiarly behoves us, as we are 
well known to have a testimony against those modes of rejoicing, 
1 even for peace itself, which are generally attended with profusion 
and tumult, to evince that we really rejoice at the prosperity of our 
country, by doing good, according to our ability to all." 

In 1804, when war was renewed, the Epistle set out at length 

, j the grounds of the Society's stand against war, at the same time 
uttering a warning against the weakness of individuals. " Friends, 

> j it is an awful thing to stand forth to the nation as the advocates 

1 Vide Life of William Allen, i. 46-50. Luke Howard, The Yorhhireman, vide 
pp. 28 foil. In 1801 the Friends of Pennsylvania and New Jersey sent a contribu- 
tion of 5,691 to London Friends to be used for the relief of distress. This was 
specifically sent in gratitude for the help of English Friends during the War of 


of inviolable peace ; and our testimony loses its efficacy in propor- 
tion to the want of consistency in any." " Guard against placing 
your dependence on fleets and armies " (this in 1 805, the year of 
Trafalgar) ; " be peaceable yourselves in words and actions ; and pray 
to the Father of the Universe that he would breathe the spirit of 
reconciliation into the hearts of His erring and contending creatures." 
"The root of our testimony against war" (in 1809) "is no other 
than Christian love." Side by side with these testimonies the 
Epistles and the Yearly Meeting Records recount the heavy distraints 
for the non-payment of " demands for warlike measures," which 
in several years amount to two or three thousand pounds (apart 
from the much larger claims in respect of tithes) * and (especially 
in the later years of the war) the imprisonment of young Quakers 
who refused to serve in the militia and were without property on 
which distress could be levied to procure substitutes. In 181 3 young 
Joseph Sturge only escaped the imprisonment he was very ready 
to endure by the loss of the flock of sheep with which his father 
had stocked for him a little farm. 2 The position of Quakers in regard 
to service in the militia distinctly worsened during the war as legisla- 
tion increased in stringency, and the Meeting for Sufferings could 
do little but notify the changes as they took place. In June 1793 
it circulated among Friends the clauses of the consolidated Militia 
Act of 1786 which concerned them, including that which made 
the unpropertied Quaker liable to imprisonment, and particularly 
warned Friends against paying the militia rate when illegally levied 
as part of the poor rate. 

In 1795 it petitioned the House of Commons for relief from 
the Navy Bill providing that the owners of merchant ships should 
provide a certain proportion of sailors to the Royal Navy, since 
Friend shipowners could not supply " men for the purposes of war." 
This Bill, in conjunction with the dilemma of the armed ship, made 
the shipping business one almost impossible for Friends. Pitt, in '\ 
November 1796 introduced a Cavalry Act, for the supply both of 
horses and riders, which in its original form inflicted the very heavy 
fine of 20 per horse in case of non-compliance. In the following 
January, however, an amending Act was passed, by which any 

1 The Yearly Meeting is more than once concerned to contradict a prevalent 
report that the account kept of these " sufferings " was for the purpose of the 
Society refunding their losses to individual members. 

1 Life of Joseph Sturge, by H. Richard, p. 23. 


acknowledged Quaker was fined 1 in lieu of every horse required 
from him. Some Friends chose this easy way of escape, for the next 
Yearly Meeting expressed its concern " to find that it is in any 
degree necessary to declare that the said fine, and all other such 
fines imposed in lieu of military service, let the application be what 
it may, cannot be actively complied with by Friends, consistently 
with our principles." Taxes, imposed by the Central Government, 
whose application was more general than that of these war rates 
and fines, were usually paid by Friends, but in 1799 a special war 
tax was levied under the title of " an Aid and Contribution for 
the prosecution of the war." Of those Friends affected by it, some 
refused to pay and submitted to distraint, while others were 
" uneasy " ; when an income tax was substituted, they felt a relief 
which was probably not shared by their fellow citizens. 1 

Under the alarm of the projected French invasion the militia 
in 1802 and 1803 was thoroughly reorganized and enlarged through- 
out the United Kingdom. The provisions (as reported by a 
Committee of the Meeting for Sufferings) regarding distraint, 
imprisonment, and the production of certificates in proof of the 
genuineness of the Quaker claim, were in substance unaltered, and 
by sect. 10 Quakers were to be marked as such in the list of men 
aged from 17 to 55 liable to the militia ballot, which was to be 
hung upon the church door in each parish. Moreover, by sect. 20, 
if any Quaker holding a parish office refused to execute the Act, 
the justices were empowered to appoint a deputy and recover his 
expenses from the Quaker up to the sum of 10. This was the 
first English Act which in set terms exempted the Quaker as such 
from personal military service. In sect. 1 2 amongst other exceptions, 
" no person labouring under any infirmity rendering him incapable 
of military service, nor any person being one of the people called 
Quakers, nor any medical man practising as such and being a house- 
keeper, shall be liable to military service under this Act, so long 
only as they shall respectively continue in any of the descriptions 
aforesaid." It was probably the fact of this definite recognition 
(which did not, of course, affect the claim to provide a substitute) 
that led the Meeting for Sufferings, in sending out printed copies 
of these clauses, to comment on the lenity shown and to caution 
Friends " to give great heed that any scruples may be, and appear 
to be, the consequences of a sense of religious duty." a 

1 Luke Howard, The Torkshireman, iv. 352. 
1 Meeting for Sufferings, 7th mo. 28, 1803. 


The Epistles of Yearly Meeting also testify that in many cases 
the authorities treated the conscientious objector with courtesy 
and consideration. Nevertheless, it was not an easy time for Friends, 
and the records frankly state that there were backsliders. Direct 
payments for war purposes were discountenanced by the general 
opinion of the Society. In 1796 the Yearly Meeting by minute 
expressed its censure on " the active compliance of some members 
with the rate for raising men for the Navy," and directed local 
Friends to have such cases under their care. In 1 810 another warning 
was given. " It is inconsistent with our known testimony against 
war for Friends to be in any manner aiding and assisting in the 
conveyance of soldiers, their baggage, arms, ammunition, and other 
military stores." Poverty and discontent were everywhere prevalent. 
Luddites attacked the machinery which, they believed, had robbed 
them of work, and hungry rioters terrified prosperous citizens into 
supplying them with food and drink. The Meeting in 181 2 found 
that some Friends had followed their neighbours in securing armed 
protection for their property, upon which it expressed a " tender 
concern " that all Friends would trust in the divine protection. 
" This Meeting further feels itself engaged to caution Friends every- 
where against keeping guns or arms of any kind in their houses, 
or on their premises, or in any manner uniting in armed associations, 
that so, whatever trials may take place, our Society may not by thus 
becoming liable to contribute to the destruction of their fellow 
creatures, violate our peaceable principles ; in the belief of the 
rectitude and safety of which we feel our minds increasingly 

The position was that Friends who joined the military forces, 
who manufactured munitions of war, or who armed their ships 
were considered to violate the peace testimony of the Society so 
seriously that if they persisted in their course after due remonstrance, 
disownment was the inevitable sequel. 

Those who paid taxes and fines direct, without waiting for the 
process of distraint, were deemed to have acted " inconsistently," 
but disciplinary measures were left to the discretion of each Monthly 
Meeting. In waiting for a distraint to be levied the Quaker was, 
as Bicknell had said, " passive, not active " ; often the goods taken 
were such as he could ill spare and of a greater value than the sum 
required. The records of a rural Monthly Meeting, that of Thaxted 
in Essex, during the war contain many such instances. In 1797 


George Gibson of Saffron Walden, for a Cavalry fine of 1, lost a 
copper boiler and meat screen worth 1 13s., and Peter Smith 
of Bardfield, for a Navy rate of 5s. 8d. plus a charge for distraint 
of 1 os. 6d., had coals taken to the value of 2 13s. o,d. On another 
occasion Joshua Marks Green, also of Saffron Walden, had 20 
worth of furniture seized for a militia fine of 12 12s. 1 

Almost every year two or three young Friends were imprisoned 
on account of the militia, but it was not until Windham in 1 808 
remodelled the militia, making it a training ground for the regular 
army, that the numbers became considerable. At the end of 1809 
the Meeting for Sufferings made inquiry into the cases of imprison- 
ment for that year. The returns were not quite complete, but 
according to them eighteen Friends and two non-members connected 
with the Society had been imprisoned for periods varying from a 
fortnight to a month, while twenty were exempted at the discretion 
of the magistrate. Some were " very kindly treated " during their 
confinement, but others were classed as ordinary offenders. Three 
from the London district were placed " with felons in Horsemonger 
Lane," and three in Wakefield gaol were put into prison dress and 
restricted to prison fare, although on application to the Deputy- 
Lieutenant this treatment was modified. 2 

After their appeal on behalf of peace at the outbreak of the war 
the Society took no official action on behalf of international reconcilia- 
tion until 1 81 2. In 1802, indeed, the Meeting for Sufferings had 
before it the proposal to address the King upon the Peace of Amiens, 
but in common with the rest of the nation it realized the instability 
of that settlement, and did not " feel its way to proceed." Ten 
years later the Meeting made an earnest appeal to the Regent on 
behalf of peace. William Allen headed the deputation, and read 
the address, to which the Prince listened " with marked attention." 

" It is now many years " (so ran the chief passage of the address) 
" since war has been spreading its desolation over great part of the 
civilized world, and as we believe it to be an evil from which the 
spirit of the Gospel of Christ would wholly deliver the nations of 
the earth, we humbly petition thee to use the royal prerogative 
now placed in thy hands, to take such early measures for the putting 
a period to this dreadful state of devastation, as we trust the wisdom 
of thy Councils under divine direction will be enabled to follow." 

1 List of " Sufferings " preserved at Saffron Walden Meeting-house. 
* Book of Cases, iv. 


The royal answer, though kindly in tone, was not encouraging, 
only " a change in the views and conduct of the enemy " could put 
an end to " the calamities which necessarily attend a state of war." 
In 1 815 peace at last came to exhausted Europe, and though peace 
alone could not cure the social and political maladies of the several 
States, yet they were freed from the awful drain of life and resources 
which had sapped their strength for twenty years. When peace 
was felt to be secure, the Society of Friends, looking back over the 
past generation, summarized its experience. The Yearly Meeting, 
in the Epistle for 18 19, wrote : "The continuance of the blessing 
of peace to this nation has warmed our hearts with gratitude. Our 
refusal to bear arms is not only a testimony against the violence 
and cruelty of war, but against a confidence in what is emphatically 
termed in Scripture the ' arm of flesh ' ; it is a testimony to the 
meekness and gentleness of Christ, and a resignation to suffer, in 
reliance on the power, the goodness and the protection of the 
Almighty." The passage was probably written not so much in allusion 
to the minor hardships of English Friends, but in remembrance of 
the providence which had watched over the members of the Society 
in Ireland. 

English Friends during the war might suffer from unpopularity 
and even occasionally from harsh treatment, but their principles 
were not put to the test of actual war In some parts of Ireland 
they were exposed to all the terrors of the Rebellion of 1798, and 
came through confirmed in their belief that faith in God manifested 
by a peaceful life and good-will towards men was a surer protection 
than any armed force. 1 The narratives of Quaker experience during 
the rebellion present many curious parallels to those of the struggle 
a hundred years earlier, although the hostilities of 1798 covered 
only a few weeks and a comparatively small area. Although through 
the exertions of Grattan's party some of the rights of citizens had 1 

1 The earliest printed account is that of Dr. Hancock, Principles of Peace 
exemplified in the Conduct of the Society of Friends in Ireland during the Rebellion 
of 1798 (1825). This was compiled from manuscript narratives, but the names of 
the narrators were omitted to avoid stirring up ill feeling. The story of a single 
family is given with great vividness in Divine Protection through Extraordinary 
Dangers Experienced by Jacob and Elizabeth Goff and their family through the 
Irish Rebellion in 1798, by Dinah W. Goff, 1857. One of Hancock's sources, 
the narrative of Joseph Haughton of Ferns, has been reprinted in full by A. M. 
Hodgkin in a little pamphlet, Friends in Ireland, published by the Friends' Tract 
Association. The accounts are summarized by Rufus Jones, Later Periods of 
Quakerism, pp. 16 1-4. 


been granted to the Catholics, yet poverty, high rents, and the 
oppression of tithes all fostered discontent, and formed a fertile soil 
in which French plots could germinate. The abortive French 
expedition to Ireland in 1796 gave an opportunity for the Govern- 
ment to put into force stern measures of repression. In 1797 Ulster 
was almost in revolt, martial law was proclaimed through the province, 
and, while the malcontents plundered private houses for weapons, 
the soldiers in their search for arms resorted to outrage and torture. 
" The troops," writes a modern historian, " were little better than 
bandits." The trouble in Ulster was largely economic, but farther 
south it assumed the character of a Catholic movement. In Wexford 
especially the rebellion, when it actually broke out, had all the char- 
acteristic ferocity of a religious war. The steps taken in Ulster 
had been effective, and, with the exception of outbreaks in Antrim 
and Down, the province remained sullenly quiet ; even in Leinster, 
which was the main seat of war, the rebellion which began in May 
was crushed, as far as regular hostilities were concerned, in July, 
though guerilla bands harassed the countryside for some months. 
Friends took their own course in the troubled times before the 
rebellion, when both parties were trying to requisition all weapons. 
In 1795 and 1796 the Quarterly and Monthly Meetings throughout 
Ireland recommended that all Friends who had sporting guns in their 
houses should destroy them, " to prevent " (as the Yearly Meeting 
said in confirming the recommendation) " their being made use of 
to the destruction of any of our fellow creatures, and more fully 
and clearly to support our peaceable and Christian testimony in these 
perilous times." 

The Monthly Meetings appointed Committees to visit Friends 
in order to urge them to carry the suggestion. Joseph Haughton 
of Ferns, in his narrative of the rebellion, relates that he was one 
of the Committee for Wexford Monthly Meeting, and that, by 
way of first " cleansing his own hands," he broke his own fowling- 
piece in the street outside his door. On his visits he found that 
the majority of Friends had already destroyed their guns or were 
prepared to do so. " There were a few who would not be prevailed 
upon to make this sacrifice, but the conduct of most of them in other 
respects was such as to occasion disownment. A short time after 
this, when the Government ordered all arms to be given up to the 
magistrates, it was a comfortable reflection and circumstance that 
in a general way Friends were found clear of having any such things 


in their possession." 1 When the magistrates visited Haughton's 
house for this purpose he was absent from home, but they remon- 
strated with his wife " on the supposed impropriety of having 
destroyed my gun instead of delivering it up to the Loyalists for 
the purpose of defending the Loyalists against the fomenters and 
plotters of rebellion and for the preservation of myself and family." 
In fact, Friends, though generally on good terms with their neighbours 
on both sides, were suspect both by the Government authorities and 
the leaders of the rebellion. As they were known to abhor all plots 
and outrages and to profess loyalty to the throne, they were accused 
of cowardly shelter behind those who were willing to fight for the 
established Government. On the other hand, many of the Irish 
Catholics were infuriated by their steady and open attendance at 
religious worship, which they maintained in spite of all threats of 
vengeance and attempts at forced conversion. 

Irish Friends, as a body, seem to have been more horrified by 
the rebellion than by the centuries-old wrong and oppression which 
evoked it, though they faithfully recorded the atrocious and 
organized cruelty of the loyalist troops as well as the barbarity of 
the rebel Irish. The narratives from different parts of the country 
are much the same in general outline weeks of sickening uncertainty 
and disorder, towns held first by one side and then by the other, 
indiscriminate plunder by both, and murder and massacre as a daily 
event. Yet in the midst of these horrors the Quaker households 
were wonderfully preserved. They suffered in loss of property and 
personal possessions, but comparatively little from actual violence, 
and, in spite of many threats, it was believed that no Quaker house 
was burnt or otherwise destroyed. So remarkable was their immunity, 
that Joseph Haughton noted that, after the rebellion, " strangers 
passing the houses of Friends and seeing them preserved with 
ruins on either hand, would frequently, without knowledge of 
the district, say they were Quaker houses." These houses were 
filled with refugees and wounded men, Protestant and Catholic, 
often with those of both parties at one time, and no threat from 
either side could induce a Quaker householder to withdraw his 
protection from these unfortunates. Abraham Shackleton of Ballitore 

1 John M. Douglas, an Irish Friend, who has studied the MS. records of 
Friends' experiences, informs me that " Some thirty or forty members were 
disowned for refusing to destroy their weapons. Friends were not unanimous 
on passive resistance. Some retained their weapons and were not disowned. 
Others obeyed out of loyalty to the Society." 


in Kildare, grandson and successor of Burke's old schoolmaster, 
gave both his house and school as a refuge, and when a body of 
Protestant Militia tried to drag him with them to battle the women 
he sheltered pleaded for him. 1 

Joseph Haughton protected the Protestant servants of the 
Bishop of Ferns, gaining from him a letter of heartfelt thanks, 
while some of the United Irishmen and their families also quartered 
themselves in the house when the town was taken by the loyalists, 
" supposing they would be more safe than in their own homes" 

One Friend, who was living in West Meath, wrote afterwards 
of the rebel occupation : " All those in this quarter who professed 
principles of peace were marvellously spared from extreme suffering. 
. . . Through Divine aid, and that alone, was I enabled to refuse 
to take up arms, or to take their oaths, or join them, assigning as 
a reason that I could not fight nor swear for or against them. They 
threatened, they pondered, they debated, marvelled, and ultimately 
liberated me." Another Friend in County Kildare refused to give 
the rebels green cloth for their badges, telling them, " We could 
not join any party." " What," they asked ingenuously, " not the 
strongest ? " In this place, when the soldiers regained possession, 
the priest tried to disguise himself in Quaker dress, while at Ennis- 
corthy a Protestant clergyman made the same attempt. At Antrim, 
on the capture of the town by the Loyalists, the soldiers began an 
indiscriminate massacre and sack, but the few Friends living there 
were spared. 2 

Joseph Haughton went through several testing times. Before 
the rebellion the Earl of Mount Nories demanded his store room 
as a guard house. Haughton felt that to plead its use as a store was 
" a mean reason " for refusal. " But considering this an opportunity 
afforded me to lift up the standard of peace and bearing my testimony 
against war . . . told him . . . that the purpose he wished it for 
was such as I could not unite with, having conscientious scruple 
against war and everything connected with it. He grew very angry 
and desired the soldiers to afford me no protection in case disturbance 
arose ; to which I replied I hoped I would not trust to or apply 
for military protection." Just before the rebellion broke out, some 

1 Shackleton and two other Friends William Leadbeater and John Bewley 
later mediated, between a detachment of the rebels and the loyalists, but the 
negotiations broke down over the choice of hostages. 

1 Hancock, Principles of Peace, pp. 113 foil. 


suspects were arrested for not delivering up their arms. The soldiers 
determined to hang some and to apply the torture of pitch caps to 
others. Haughton's shop contained ropes and linen, and he feared 
that under martial law a refusal to sell might endanger him, while 
he was determined not to help in the torment and execution of his 
fellow creatures. When the military applied to him, he refused, 
whereupon they forcibly requisitioned the goods, offering him money, 
which he refused to take. This refusal, Haughton adds, became 
known to the rebels, and was a source of protection to himself and 
his family when that party occupied Ferns. 

Dinah Goff was a child of fourteen at the time of the rebellion, 
the youngest of the family of a well-to-do Quaker landowner, settled 
on the estate of Horetown, in Wexford. For nearly a month they were 
surrounded by rebel encampments, and hundreds came daily to 
demand food and drink. Her vivid narrative tells how the maid- 
servants were at times up all night baking bread, which the rebels 
would carry off on the ends of their pikes. They tried to requisition 
the family carving-knives for weapons, but Mrs. Goff, whose courage 
never flagged, interposed and saw that they were " carefully locked 
up after meals." The daughters of the house were kept busy handing 
out the food demanded by these mobs, and, in return, the rebels 
at times entertained them by details of the cruelties they had com- 
mitted. Once, after a particularly horrible description, little Dinah 
" could not refrain from bursting into tears, throwing down what 
I had in my hand, and running away into the house." The Goffs 
sheltered a dozen refugees of both parties, so that the mother's task 
was no light one. Two Roman Catholic men-servants were forced 
by the rebels to join them as pikemen. " On my dear mother hearing 
of their having these weapons, she sent to let them know she would 
not allow anything of the kind to be brought into the house ; so 
each night they left them outside the door. They behaved quietly 
and respectfully throughout, generally returning home at the close 
of the day." There can seldom have been a more incongruous picture 
than the bloodstained pikes leaning against the Quaker doorpost. 
Not far from Horetown was the dreadful barn of Scullabogue, in 
which on June 4th the rebels burnt alive 1 80 prisoners, men, women, 
and children. The smoke of the burning was seen from the house. 
Jacob Goff himself and the whole family were more than once 
threatened with instant death, though the mob were always restrained 
from actual violence. There was a general belief in Wexford, in 


which Friends shared, that a certain date had been fixed for a massacre 
of the Protestants, and that only the success of the Loyalist troops 
prevented the plan from being carried into effect. 

Notwithstanding all these dangers and alarms, the elder daughters 
regularly walked to the First-day Meeting at Forrest, and were 
never molested. The father and mother were unable to go with 
them, as the family horses had been requisitioned. For the same 
cause, they could not attend Leinster Quarterly Meeting, held 
" in usual course " at Enniscorthy, two days after a battle had raged 
in the town. Some Friends who drove thither had to alight and 
clear the way for their horses by removing the corpses that lay 
about the streets. 1 It is easy to believe the report by the few Friends 
present, that the meeting was a solemn and heart-stirring occasion 
Another family of Goffs, cousins of those of Horetown, were 
threatened by the rebels that unless they ceased to attend meeting 
and became Roman Catholics, they should be murdered and their 
house burnt down. The parents called their children together, 
and, after solemn prayer, laid the matter before them. The eldest 
son, a boy of seventeen, was spokesman, replying, " Father, rejoice 
that we are found worthy to suffer." They continued to attend 
the meeting, but the threats were never put into execution. Other 
Friends were carried off by the rebels to their camps at Vinegar Hill 
and elsewhere. There forced conversions were attempted, and 
sometimes they underwent mock trials, but in the end all were 
sent home unhurt, while their Protestant neighbours were murdered 
without mercy. Two young men, brothers of the name of Jones, 
who had some connection with the Society, were told, when they 
refused to conform to Catholicism, that if they could prove they 
were Quakers their lives would be spared. But they refused also 
to make this false claim, and died with great courage. At last, news 
came that English and Hessian troops had landed, and the Protestants 
awaited deliverance from one set of oppressors, with an apprehension 
too well justified, that they might also suffer from their helpers. 
On the 20th of June a battle was fought for some hours at Goff's 
Bridge, close to Horetown ; the house was in the line of fire and 
cannon-balls fell thickly around it. The rebels were routed, and, 
as they fled, some turned to the Goffs to have their wounds dressed. 
Then the victors arrived, heralded by two cavalry officers. As 
Jacob Goff came out to meet them, one, a German, alighted and 

1 Journal of David Sands. 



embraced him, saying in broken English, " You be Friend no 
enemy no enemy. We have Friends in Germany." The troops 
bivouacked on the lawn that night. Next morning some thirty 
officers breakfasted with the family, " and said that we had had 
a marvellous escape the previous day ; the cannon having been placed 
on the bridge and pointed against the house to batter it down. 
even the match was lighted when a gentleman who knew my 
father came forward, and told them the house was inhabited by 
a loyal Quaker and his family. They had previously supposed it 
to be a rendezvous of rebels." The soldiers soon moved away from 
Horetown on their task of mercilessly extirpating the rebellion. 
After all open rebellion had been suppressed, vagrant hordes took 
refuge in the woods, coming out by night to plunder. Twice they 
visited Horetown, where they proved more terrifying than the 
earlier bands. On the first visit, Dinah Goff was awakened by a 
noise to find her father in the grasp of armed men. As the little 
girl looked on, they put a pistol to his head. " Seeing his situation, 
I threw myself on my knees on the floor, and clung with my arms 
round him, when the ruffians pushed me away, saying, ' You'll 
be killed if you stop there.' But my father drew me towards him 
more closely, saying, ' She would rather be hurt, if I am.' They 
snapped the pistol several times, which was perhaps not charged, 
as it did not go off." The robbers came a second time, and, after 
plundering the house, dragged him out of doors, asking if he had 
anything to say, as his last hour was come. " He said, he prayed 
that the Almighty might be merciful to him, and be pleased to forgive 
him his trespasses and sins, and also to forgive them, as he did 
sincerely. They said that was a good wish, and inquired if he had 
anything more to say. He requested them to be tender towards 
his wife and children ; on which they said, ' Good-night, Mr. Goff, 
we only wanted to rattle the mocuses out of you ' meaning guineas." 
The Goffs were convinced that these terrifying threats were in 
fact only an attempt to extract money, of which the household 
had by this time little enough, but there is no wonder that Jacob Goff 
returned home when the robbers left him, " pale and exhausted," 
saying he could not hold out much longer. He died in December 
1798, worn out by these trials, although his gallant wife survived 
him for nearly twenty years. 

Mary Leadbeater of Ballitore, sister of Abraham Shackleton, 
lived on terms of intimacy and understanding with her Irish Catholic 

72V TIME OF WAR 223 

neighbours, both rich and poor. Her Cottage Dialogues have been 
praised by high authority as a vivid picture of the Irish peasant. 
She passed through all the horrors which rebellion and coercion 
inflicted on her unhappy village with an impartial indignation at 
the cruelties of both sides. 1 In the searches for arms which preceded 
the rebellion she had seen her village friends whipped savagely to 
extract information about the hiding-places of the rebel pikes. 
" The torture," she commented, " was excessive, and the victims 
were long in recovering ; and in almost every case it was applied 
fruitlessly." When the rebels gained power, there were cruel murders 
in the village and the district. 3 The few Quaker families were 
unscathed, but the terrible scenes through which they passed left 
their impress on Mary Leadbeater's nerves : " For many days 
afterwards I thought my food tasted of blood and at night I was 
frequently awakened by my feelings of horror." 

The speedy triumph of the Loyalist troops brought a new series 
of atrocities. At Carlow, near by, a row of cabins to which the 
insurgents had fled, was fired by the troops, and all the inmates 
perished the Protestant counterpart of the barn of Scullabogue. 
After Shackleton's vain attempt at mediation the rebels fled from 
Ballitore, while the troops who occupied the village took 
vengeance on the peaceable inhabitants. Houses were plundered 
and burnt. That of the Shackletons escaped destruction, 
but soldiers burst into it demanding food and calling the 
mistress names, " which " (she says) " I had never heard 
before. They said I had poisoned the milk which I gave 
them and desired me to drink some, which I did with much 
indignation." At the same time her neighbours' houses went up 
in flames, and she was forced to listen to disgusting boasts of the 
cruelties committed on the rebels. No wonder that in her account 
of the scene, she declared that she had never been able to retain 
a coherent picture of those dreadful hours. Later, as the troops 
withdrew, she saw a soldier flogged for killing a pig. " Oh, how 
shocking that seemed to be ! Commanded to take the precious 
human life punished for taking that of a brute ! " When the 
immediate danger was over, Mary Leadbeater exerted herself on 
behalf of her humble neighbours arrested on suspicion as rebels. 

1 The story is told in her autobiography, Annals of Ballitore, pp. 221 foil. 

* Mary Leadbeater says emphatically that the rebels in their neighbourhood 
spared women and children and " Quakers in general," but (she adds) " woe to 
the oppressor of the poor, the hard landlord, the severe master, or him who was 
looked upon as an enemy." 


For one prisoner she wrote to the officers of the court-martial. 
The Court saw that the letter was from a woman, and " women 
did not care what they said." But the Friendly date caught the 
eye of someone ; it was from a Quaker, and " Quakers tell the 
truth." Mrs. Leadbeater's plea was admitted and the suspect was 
set free. As at Horetown, for months after the rebellion, Ballitore 
was harassed by robber bands, who produced as much terror by 
their night raids as had been caused by the contending forces. 

Dublin Yearly Meeting in 1801 sent an account of the events 
of the rebellion as they affected Friends, to its sister assembly in 
Philadelphia. In this the statement was made that amidst all the 
massacre and violence of the time only one member of the Society 
lost his life. From other sources it appears that he was a youth of 
twenty from the neighbourhood of Rathangan in Kildare, who was 
panic-stricken by the approaching danger. He urged his friends 
and family to take shelter with him in Rathangan, the nearest 
garrison town, and on their refusal he fled thither himself. He 
joined the local defence corps as a dispatch rider. Later, the town 
was stormed by rebels, who found him armed with others defending 
a house, and promptly shot him. 1 One or two other Friends who 
took up arms were disowned by their Meetings. 

The Irish Government offered some compensation to those 

loyalists who had incurred heavy loss during the rebellion. A portion 

of this was offered to Jacob GofF and other Friends, but, as they 

had neither aided the army nor asked for its protection, they felt 

it would be inconsistent to accept the grant. Offers of help came 

from the Yearly Meetings of London and Philadelphia, the latter 

impelled by the remembrance of the " generous relief " sent by 

Irish Friends in the American War. Dublin Yearly Meeting, in 

returning grateful thanks, said that there was no need for such 

assistance. The Monthly Meetings raised nearly 4,000 to assist 

Friends rendered actually destitute, and the relief was administered 

by a committee appointed by the Yearly Meeting. The actual 

losses of these Friends were in money value 7,000, but it was 

found that the expenditure of 2,218 would set them on their feet 

again. In 1800 the surplus of the subscription was returned to the 

Monthly Meetings. Friends who had suffered loss, but still were 

able to support themselves and their families, neither asked for nor 

received any restitution. 

The house belonged to another Friend, who was dealt with by his Monthly 
Meeting for permitting it to be put to such a use. 




From the earliest times, even when there was no recognized test of 

membership, Friends had exercised the power of disownment, against 

those who <c walked disorderly." After the Monmouth Rebellion 

it was used against those West Country Friends who had taken any 

active part in the rebellion. But the process was both less summary 

in execution and less penal in result than some historians outside 

the Society have imagined. The disowned person was no longer 

considered a member of the Society ; he could take no part in its 

business, and was thus excluded from meetings for discipline ; if 

poor he had no claim upon its charitable funds, and the machinery 

of the Society would not be put in motion to rescue him from any 

legal difficulty. But there was no check on his attendance at meetings 

for worship. There were not a few disowned Friends both in England 

and America who constantly shared in this spiritual communion, 

First Day by First Day, and who at death were laid in a Friends' 

burial ground, where their dust now peacefully mingles with that 

of their judges. In many other cases, of course, the delinquent had 

shown by habitual absence from meeting, or by laxity of conduct, 

that he was no longer in sympathy with Friends, and in such instances 

the severance was complete. But Friends, as a rule, were not 

disowned until the matter had been long in the care first of the 

overseers, who only brought it under the notice of the Monthly 

Meeting when their private exhortations had produced no effect, 

then of the Monthly Meeting, sometimes for a period of years, 

and until they had been often visited and " dealt with " by a small 

delegation of members of the meeting, whose endeavours to reclaim 

the erring were patient and protracted. 1 In a small meeting the 

1 This statement does not apply to some of the American meetings in the 
Revolutionary War. By them enlistment in either army or any overt assistance 
in the conduct of the war was taken as good ground for immediate dissociation. 

15 s 


scandal and discomfort created by the expulsion of a well-known 
Friend were particularly felt, and at times the larger body of the 
Quarterly Meeting had to intervene to help the Monthly Meeting 
in its task. The final minute of disownment almost invariably 
contained a wish that the ex-Friend might be convinced of error 
and return to fellowship with the Society a wish that was some- 
times fulfilled. The general history of disownment among Friends 
does not concern us here. There is no doubt that in its zeal for 
consistency the Society at times deprived itself of valued and 
spiritually minded members. But even where the stated grounds 
of disownment seem inadequate, it is generally true that the Friend 
had drifted away from his old associates. It is impossible to form 
any idea of the total number of disownments in the eighteenth 
century, nor of all the causes which led to them. 1 They lie hidden 
in the records of the many Monthly Meetings throughout the 
country, and a careful study of each minute book would be 
necessary to discover the delinquencies which Friends themselves 
showed no desire to publish further. The disowned person had the 
right of appeal to the Quarterly and thence to the Yearly Meeting, 
but it was seldom exercised. When there was an appeal it was heard 
in private by a small committee, which reported its decision to the 
Quarterly or Yearly Meeting ; and this bare fact is alone entered 
on the minutes. There is no collected record of disownments ; 
and the Quarterly Meeting answers to the queries are the only 
guide as to the districts in which from time to time trouble arose 
over any point of the discipline. Thus, as no full history of disown- 
ments for breaches of the peace testimony can be given, it has seemed 
best to select the story of one Monthly Meeting in North Yorkshire 
as typical of the difficulties which might beset a whole Quaker 
community, and the story of an individual disownment in Birming- 
ham by which the Society lost the adherence of a family of keen 
intellectual vigour. 

The repeated warnings by the Yearly Meeting against any 
concern in armed ships show that the trials of Quaker shipowners 
and captains did not diminish in the eighteenth century. It was 
in those days little part of the duty of the fleet to defend the country's 
trade against the enemy. Merchantmen had to trust to themselves, 

1 " Marriage by a priest," that is, to a non-Friend, was probably that most 
frequently alleged. This disastrous policy, not amended till the middle of the 
nineteenth century, led to the severance of many young Friends from the Society. 


and it was customary to carry at least sufficient armament to put 
up a fight against an ordinary privateer. It was seldom possible 
to man a Quaker vessel with a Quaker crew, and in war-time the 
unregenerate seaman often refused to sail on a defenceless ship. 
It was this difficulty, rather than personal fear, which led to most 
of the delinquencies recorded in the sea-board meetings. Durham, 
Yorkshire, Suffolk, Kent, Devon, Cornwall, and Bristol, all at 
various times suffered from this backsliding. It is the history of 
Whitby and Scarborough Monthly Meeting which is outlined 
here. 1 In the eighteenth century Whitby was a busy and prosperous 
port, even before the Greenland whale fishery brought it fifty years 
of wealth. Whitby men were hardy sailors, who not only carried 
on the profitable coasting trade to London, but crossed distant seas 
to strange lands. Captain Cook was a Whitby 'prentice, and his 
first voyage to the South Seas was made in a Whitby-built ship. 
The War of the Spanish Succession brought temptation to Whitby 
Friends, for in March 1713/14 the Monthly Meeting records that 
while it " did formerly make a minute showing their dissatisfaction 
that some of our friends carried guns in their ships, which thing is 
contrary to the principle of truth, and advised them from time 
to time to put them away," now, in time of peace, by the advice 
of the Quarterly Meeting and " the sense and desire " of this 
Monthly Meeting, these friends are still to be " laboured with " 
until they give forth a " testimony " against that practice. In 
conformity with this minute Joseph Linskill, a leading shipowner, 
and one of the seventeen Friends who signed this minute, published 
his own testimony. 

" Whereas I have made profession and am in communion with 
those people who are in scorn called Quakers, whose principle and 
practice has been and is against all fighting with carnal weapons ; 
but forasmuch as I have been prevailed on by the enemy of my 
soul, and my own reasonings for self-preservation, to carry guns 
in the time of war, which did belong to a ship when I bought her 
and also in heat and passion did make use of them in order to defend 
myself with the arm of flesh, the which, when I considered it in 
coolness of mind, it became a great exercise, and having seen the 
evil consequences thereof, and in some measure tasted of the judg- 
ments of God ... I find it my place voluntarily, for the clearing 

1 I have to thank J. T. Sewell of Whitby, and Allan Rowntree of Scarborough, 
for supplying extracts from records and other information. 


our holy profession and all faithful professors thereof, to condemn 
that spirit which led me, and myself for being drawn into such actions, 
to wit, using guns for defence, which I am fully satisfied is contrary 
to the principles of truth. And therefore I do in great humility 
treat and warn all those of our profession who have been guilty 
of the same transgression, that if such as the late times for use of guns 
should happen again, that they take care never more to be entangled 
in that deadly snare, but trust in the Lord, the great Jehovah, in 
whom is everlasting strength, to defend and preserve us all if we 
abide faithful." 

" Times for use of guns " were not to recur until, against 
Walpole's desire, a new war with Spain broke out in 1739. In 
1742 the Yearly Meeting introduced the query on bearing arms 
and, at the instance of Bristol, followed it up in 1 744 by the strong 
caution already quoted. 1 This roused the conscience of Yorkshire 
Quarterly Meeting which admitted delinquencies in 1745, reported 
in 1747 "some seafaring persons notwithstanding they have been 
advised against it continue to carry guns on their ships," and in 1 748 
found this still the case in " one Monthly Meeting." The matter 
dropped for a few years, but in 1756 the Quarterly Meeting reported 
that it had advised the Monthly Meeting " closely to admonish 
such to act more conformably to our profession." The advice is 
found in the Whitby and Scarborough minute books under the 
month of April 

" Finding by your answers to the Yearly Meeting queries 
that some masters of ships professing with us in their voyages do 
carry arms for their defence contrary to our professed principles 
and that Christian frame of mind that the followers of Christ have 
walked in : therefore in the love of Truth we tenderly advise that 
such Friends be laboured with in a spirit of love to desist from such 
practices and put their trust in that arm of power that is able to 
preserve beyond any contrivance of man and we desire they would 
weightily consider the distress of mind they bring upon their brethren 
on account of the inconsistency that appears amongst us, as many 
cannot for conscience' sake take up arms." 

The Monthly Meeting, however, appears to have shelved this 
letter, for the next Quarterly Meeting sent down a request that it 
might be given to the " Masters and Chief Owners of ships," which 
Scarborough reports has been done for all " that are at home " by 

Chapter VII, pp. 187-8. 


October 1756 and Whitby in the following November. But in 
1757 Yorkshire could report no reform, and the Yearly Meeting 
Epistle reiterated its advice. In 1758 Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting 
explained in reply to the query that the " seafaring people " who 
carry guns, do so " without letters of Marque or being concerned 
in privateering. They have been visited in behalf of the meeting 
of several Friends, whose advice and labour with them was well 
received." In 1760 both Lancashire and Yorkshire confessed the 
same fault, although it appears from the Whitby and Scarborough 
minute books that the Quarterly Meeting had again in April sent 
down advice against the practice. 

The Yearly Meeting was sufficiently moved to send down a 
" Written Epistle " to the subordinate meetings. This form of 
communicating advice or reproof was frequently adopted in the 
discussion of serious and confidential matters of discipline, since the 
printed Epistle had a wide general circulation. The Peace of Paris 
brought the scandal to an end for the time, but it sprang up again 
at the outbreak of the American War. In 1777 Yorkshire reported 
to the Yearly Meeting that " some owners of ships arm them in order 
to their being employed in the Government service." The Yearly 
Meeting's recommendation that " the minutes of the Meeting 
under the head of Fighting in 1693, 1730, and 1740 be read in the 
several Quarterly and Monthly Meetings and duly observed," was 
followed by visits to all the Quarterly Meetings by representatives 
from the Yearly Meeting. Those to Yorkshire reported that " two 
Monthly Meetings * are concerned in armed vessels, but our expecta- 
tion is that the cause of complaint would be removed as speedily 
as possible." But in 1779 a further declension appeared, when York- 
shire Quarterly Meeting was " concerned to find that some of our 
seafaring Friends not only carry guns on board their ships, but that 
some particulars are concerned in ships that have taken out letters 
of Marque, which afflicting case came weightily under the considera- 
tion of this Meeting, and some Friends are appointed to join the 
Friends there in visiting the parties and laying before them the 
great inconsistency of their conduct with our peaceable and benevolent 
principles." In April 1780 these Friends were appointed (we find 
from Whitby and Scarborough minute books) to meet with Friends 
; of the Monthly Meeting at Whitby, and in November the case 

1 Sic, there were two " Particular " Meetings, i.e. Whitby and Scarborough ; 
but possibly Hull Friends were also involved. 


came up of " a Friend whose vessel carried letters of Marque and 
was let for a considerable time to the East India Company." This 
probably is the case in regard to which Yorkshire informed the 
Yearly Meeting of 1781 that "some steps have been taken, the 
other cases but very lately known. There are many others concerned, 
as owners of ships and shares of ships armed for defence, and divers 
employed as masters and mates of such vessels, to most of whom 
divers visits have been paid, by appointment of this Meeting and 
the whole is closely under our care. We request this sorrowful 
defection may also come closely under the consideration of the Yearly 
Meeting." The Epistle responded by a reference to the advices 
of 1757. During this year the Quarterly Meeting did take, and 
inspire the Monthly Meeting to take, severe action. In February 
the Monthly Meeting received a report from the Quarterly Meeting 
Committee on the matter which gave a list of Friends concerned 
in armed vessels, of whom " we have not sufficient grounds of hope 
that an alteration of conduct in these respects is likely at present 
to take place with any of them." The names of fourteen Whitby 
Friends are given, including John Walker, to whom Captain Cook 
had been once apprenticed. Abel Chapman, of another well-known 
local family, was concerned in letters of Marque. In August, at 
a joint meeting of the Monthly Meeting and the Quarterly Meeting 
Committee, Thomas Scarth was disowned for sailing under letters 
of Marque, and Abel Chapman's subscription was not to be received 
until he had disposed of his vessel. In September, Samuel Clemesha 
and T. Henderson, both of Scarborough, reported that they have 
disposed of their shares in armed vessels. It is a sign of the wide- 
spread nature of the defection that Samuel Clemesha was actually 
at the time Clerk to the meeting. Abel Chapman was ultimately 
disowned. In July 1782 a recommendation came down from the 
Quarterly Meeting that fifteen Scarborough and Whitby Friends 
(mentioned by name) who owned armed vessels should be debarred 
from acting in meetings for discipline, and that their subscriptions 
should not be received. In August and September the collections 
recorded in the minutes average about 1 10s. from each meeting, 
whereas for many years previously the amounts (sometimes taken 
each month, sometimes less frequently) were about 2 from 
Scarborough and 4 or 5 from Whitby at that time a larger 
and more wealthy meeting. In April 1783 one Friend, a sea- 
captain, made acknowledgment of his fault : 


" Under a due sense of my own weakness in suffering myself 
to command where guns were carried for defence, I am now con- 
vinced I was wrong and am in hopes that Friends will overlook 
my weakness." In June the remaining fourteen Friends (thirteen 
from Whitby and Sarah Gott, a woman shipowner, of Scarborough) 
were disowned for " arming their vessels in defence of their property 
although acknowledgment was made that the practice could not 
be defended from the doctrine of the New Testament." It is 
interesting to see that the Friends who had " dealt " for six years 
with their erring brethren in the end based their disownment, not 
upon the scandal brought to the Society or upon any breach of 
" ancient testimony," but upon their disobedience to the teachings 
of Christianity. A strong minority, however, especially in Whitby, 
where the declension had been greatest, sympathized with the dis- 
owned members. One Friend who got access to the minute book 
relieved himself by the childish device of crossing out the word 
" not " from the foregoing minute. Possibly he was Samuel Clemesha, 
who was deposed from the office of Elder, " having during the 
sittings of the Monthly Meeting misrepresented the conduct of 
our last." In Whitby, John Routh, the chief schoolmaster of the 
town, and Clerk of the Preparative Meeting, refused to deal with 
the notices of his friends' disownments, and returned them to the 
Monthly Meeting in August unread. This Meeting, which was 
held at Scarborough, found " that the Preparative Meeting of Whitby 
is not likely at present to be held select," under which circumstances 
it resolved not to accept any Whitby Friends as duly appointed 
representatives to the Monthly Meeting, while welcoming individuals 
who cared to attend. The difficulty, as reported to the Monthly 
meeting in October, was that Whitby Friends took the line of 
ignoring the disownments, and carried on the business of the 
meeting with the disowned members. Friends were appointed 
to visit the meeting with the aim of restoring due church order, 
but it was not until December 1784 that the Monthly Meeting 
again assembled at Whitby. A few Friends, women for the most 
part, admitted their fault and applied again for membership during 
the years immediately following the disownment. They were wel- 
comed back, but the Whitby Meeting, having refused to accept 
the disownments, now refused to read the new minutes of member- 
ship, and after some remonstrance the Monthly Meeting yielded 
the point. Even in 1786 Thomas Smailes was withholding his 


usual subscription for the services of the Society, on account of the 
recent disownments, but eventually he " complied with the advice 
of Friends." In the following year two or three of the disowned 
Friends gave a curious proof that they no longer considered them- 
selves members of the Society. In 1778 English Friends had raised 
large sums for the relief of their brethren in Pennsylvania who 
had suffered from the war (and who, incidentally, were also faced 
with the same problem of disownment). The Monthly Meeting 
had contributed nearly 250, of which Whitby's share was 204. 
More was subscribed than was required to meet the necessities of 
the American Friends, and when the accounts were closed in 
1787 four or five of the disowned Whitby members, who had 
learned this fact from the report of the committee of the fund, 
applied to the Monthly Meeting " to have their share of the 
unexpended balance returned to them," which was apparently 

One result of this period of disownment was a change in the 

area of the Monthly Meeting. Scarborough and Whitby Friends 

had become too small a body, and they were reinforced by the 

adjoining inland meetings of Pickering, Kirby Moorside, and 

Thornton-le-dale, the first-named of which gave its title to the 

new Monthly Meeting. It was as Pickering Monthly Meeting 

that Friends of the district passed through the long years of the 

French War. Traditions live long in the neighbourhood, and an 

impression still prevails that it was during this war that disownments 

for armed ships were most frequent, but this is not borne out by 

the records, which show only six or seven disownments for breaches 

of peace testimony. A considerable number are for " immorality " 

or " drinking to excess." In those days the wide moors cut off this 

little corner of Yorkshire from many civilizing influences, and these 

delinquents had no doubt found much opportunity of stumbling 

in the society which surrounded them. Of the disownments for 

war activities, some are for being " concerned as owners of vessels 

armed, and let out to Government to assist in carrying forward 

war," others are against those who, after being pressed for the Navy, 

continued to serve voluntarily, " thereby laying waste our ancient 

Christian testimony," and there is a single case of a Friend who 

became " a volunteer soldier." Further north, on the confines of 

Durham and Yorkshire, the Quakers of Shields were faced with 

the same problem. There, too, some shipowners armed their vessels, 


and in consequence, after remonstrance and " dealing," lost their 
membership in the Society. 

Perhaps the best-known instance of disownment from the Society 
in the eighteenth century is that of Samuel Galton of Birmingham 
for his concern in the manufacture of guns. It is interesting, not 
only from the position of the disowned Friend, a leading citizen 
of Birmingham, grandfather of Francis Galton, the eugenist, but 
also from the influence exercised by the Yearly Meeting upon the 
Monthly Meeting of Birmingham in its dealings with the 

In the first half of the eighteenth century Joseph Farmer, a 
" convinced " Friend, carried on the business of a gunsmith at 
Birmingham ; on his death it was continued by his son James, 
and when in 1 746 Mary Farmer became the wife of Samuel Galton 
of Bristol, the two brothers-in-law entered into partnership, and 
the firm of Farmer & Galton set up a large gun factory in Steel- 
house Lane, which carried out important Government contracts. 
" But the business had much wider ramifications ; there were 
large transactions in Lisbon, and on one occasion 54,000 of slaves 
were handled in America." 1 In the year 1790 the business was 
in the hands of the two Samuel Galtons, father and son. In that 
year the Yearly Meeting, alarmed by the war upon the Continent, 
sent a " Written Epistle," in addition to that usually printed, to the 
Monthly and Quarterly Meetings in comment on their answers 
to the queries. One passage runs as follows : 

" Some of the accounts are not quite clear, and as the ambition 
of nations is ever now slaughtering its thousands, let none amongst 
us, whose principle is peace, be employed to prepare the means. 
We have been publicly charged with some under our name fabrica- 
ting or selling instruments of war. We desire an inquiry may be 
made, and if any be found in a practice so inconsistent, that they 
be treated with love, but if by this unreclaimed, that they be further 
dealt with as those whom we cannot own." This recommendation, 
of which the italicized portion was taken from an actual minute 
of Yearly Meeting, was not adopted by the Birmingham Monthly 
Meeting. The first distinct objection raised to the position of the 
Galtons was in 1792, when a collection was made towards the 
enlargement of the Bull Street Meeting-house. Joseph Robinson, 
a local Friend, then wrote to one of the committee, Joseph Gibbons, 
1 Karl Pearson, Life, Letters, and Labours of Francis Galton, p. 32. 


in protest against the receipt of Samuel Galton's contribution. " So 
many eyes are opened to scrutinize into the several branches of the 
African trade, the minutest of which are likely to be weighed and 
exposed. The supplying of the merchants trading to the coast of 
Guinea with an article likely to be very hurtful to them (the natives), 
for I cannot think they are only made a bauble of and hung up in 
their houses for ornament, and if applied to birding, being so slightly 
proved, are a kind of snare to them, but the worst of it is many of 
them are used in their wars with each other, I firmly believe. And 
for us to receive part of the thousands that have probably been a 
accumulated by a forty years' commerce in these articles and apply 
it to the use of Friends, is, I think, a matter that requires your very 
serious consideration." 1 

The grammatical construction of Joseph Robinson's sentence 
leaves much to be desired, but it is clear that he made three objections 
to the Galton's trade, these being its close connection with the slave 
trade, the poor quality of the guns, and their use in native wars. 
It seems doubtful whether Friends in general were aware of the 
Galtons' work for the Government. Still the Monthly Meeting 
took no official action. C. D. Sturge, in the Notes just quoted, 
mentioned a tradition that " the meeting did not actually take the 
case upon its minutes " until Bristol Half-Yearly Meeting refused 
to receive Samuel Galton as a representative. There is, however, 
no trace of this refusal. The Half- Year Meeting was a committee 
of Somertsetshire Friends for the management of charitable funds, 
but Galton, originally a Bristol man, may have had some connection 
with it. In any case the first minute (4th mo. 18, 1795) of the 
Monthly Meeting shows clearly that the matter had been already 
under discussion. " Mention having been made at this and some 
former sittings respecting the case of Samuel Galton and Samuel 
Galton, Junior, members of this Meeting, who are in the practice 
of fabricating and selling instruments of war, concerning which 
divers opportunities have been had with the parties by several 
Friends under the direction of the overseers and others, to some 
satisfaction," the meeting appoints three Friends to continue the 
visitation. This year the Yearly Meeting sent down a further 
written Epistle to the Quarterly Meeting expressing sorrow that in 
some places the testimony against war " is violated in divers ways 

1 C. D. Sturge, Notes on Birmingham Friends, preserved in Bevan-Naish 
Library, Bull Street. Vide also, Hicks, Quakeriana, No. 5, July 1894. 


and sometimes for the sake of gain. We therefore desire you 
will be vigilant in your oversight over such of the family who 
may fall into these inconsistencies." The Monthly Meeting 
continued its care, which can be traced through the minutes 
of 1795. 

In July " it is in degree satisfactory to this Meeting to find that 
Samuel Galton, the elder, has relinquished the business and declined 
receiving any further emolument from it. The minute as far as 
respects his case is therefore discontinued," but the Friends appointed 
are asked to pursue their dealings with Galton, the son. This minute 
was "continued" for the rest of the year, until in January 1796 
Samuel Galton himself took action. " A letter being received from 
Samuel Galton, Junior, and read in this Meeting, the same is referred 
to further consideration." Such consideration was given in February, 
when the appointed Friends were desired to " inform him that we 
cannot admit his arguments as substantial, and 'tis matter of real 
concern to us that he should attempt to vindicate a practice which 
we conceive to be so inconsistent with our religious principles." 
Accordingly, the Preparative Meeting of Birmingham was directed 
not to receive his collection. Next month the Friends reported 
that Samuel Galton had informed them that " his address was not 
intended as an attack on our principles (as some Friends had sup- 
posed), but he still remains of the same mind in regard to the facts 
and opinions therein expressed, and does not give Friends any assur- 
ance of his quitting the business." Accordingly the meeting "declines 
to receive any further collection from him or to admit his attending 
our meetings for discipline, as a testimony of our decided disunity 
with the practice of fabricating and selling instruments of war. 
And feeling our minds impressed with a consideration of the 
desolating consequences of war, and the importance of this branch 
of our Christian testimony being supported by those in profession 
with us, we desire that the weighty advices which have at times 
been given by our Society on this subject may claim the serious 
attention of all our members, and that they will be careful, not 
only to avoid engaging in personal service and the fabrication of 
instruments of destruction, but also in any other concern whereby 
our testimony against war may not be supported." It is not surprising 
that Friends listened to Galton's lengthy letter with feelings of 
distress, and that it seemed to them an attack upon their principles. 
Opinions upon the merit of the argument differ considerably. To 


one Friend (Edward Hicks in Quakeriana) it has seemed " very 
able," and to Professor Karl Pearson " excellent common sense." 
But Morris Birkbeck, 1 who made manuscript annotations upon the 
copy of the letter preserved at the Friends' Reference Library in 
London, finds the argument in one place " corrupt and unsound," 
in another " illusory and inconsistent," in another " weak, foolish 
talk." The best point made by Galton is the undeniable fact that 
the business had been carried on by Friends for half a century 
without any official censure. But his attitude is one of resenting 
the interference of the meeting and of determination to pursue 
his own path a " characteristic stubbornness " (to quote Professor 
Pearson again) which he showed in other episodes. Nevertheless, 
he writes with a good deal of affection for the Society and for 
individual members. 

He believes (he tells the meeting) that it has entered on the 
business with reluctance and only in compliance with the Yearly 
Meeting minute of 1790. He is anxious that his letter should be 
preserved as a record for his children or future generation of " the 
circumstances and of the motive of my conduct," and he opens 
his defence with a series of " Facts " which are certainly the 
strongest part of his case. 

" 1st. The sole and entire cause alleged for this process is that 
I am engaged in a manufactory of arms, some of which are applicable 
to military purposes." On this Birkbeck comments that " the chief 
or principal part " are " designedly made for war." 

" 2nd. My grandfather afterwards my uncle, then my father 
and uncle and lastly my father and myself have been engaged in 
this manufactory for a period of 70 years, without having received 
any animadversion on the part of the Society. 

" 3rd. The trade devolved on me as if it were an inheritance, 
and the whole, or nearly the whole, of the fortune which I received 
from my father was a capital invested in the manufactory ; a part 
of which consists in appropriate mills, erections, and apparatus, 
not easily assignable or convertible to other purposes. 

" 4th. I have at various times during my carrying on the said 
business performed many acts, with the concurrence and at the 
instance of the Society, which alone would have constituted me a 

" 5th. I have been engaged in this business from the year 17775 
1 1734-1816. The copy in D. is to be found in Tracts E96. 


and it was not until the year 1790 that the minute was made upon 
which this process against me is founded. 

" 6th. My engagements in the business were not a matter of 
choice in the first instance ; and there never has been a time when 
I would not have withdrawn from it could I have found a proper 
opportunity of transferring the concern." 

Birkbeck notes that there were many other " honourable and 
religious " means of livelihood open, but that the opportunity for 
which the Galtons waited was that of selling " to more profit than 
continuing the manufactory." He does not defend the Monthly 
Meeting from the charge of negligence, but points out that the 
Minutes and Advices of the Society are frequently read in meetings, 
and that the individual is responsible for their application. " It is 
known that animadversions were made and private admonition 
given, before public labour was bestowed, which is agreeable to 
gospel order." 

Next Galton, after having made clear that the censure was 
belated, passes to more dubious ground. He is convinced, he says, 
by his feelings and reason 

" 1. That the manufacture of arms implies no approbation of 
offensive war ; 

" 2. That the degree of responsibility that has been imputed 
to that manufacture does not attach ; 

" 3. And that in its object or its tendencies it neither promotes 
war or increases its calamities." 

His aim in manufacturing guns is that " which all commercial 
persons propose, viz. the acquisition of property. ... In too many 
instances firearms are employed in offensive war, yet it ought in 
candour to be considered, that they are equally applicable to the 
purposes of defensive war, to the support of the civil power, to the 
prevention of war, and to the preservation of peace." Birkbeck 
queries : " Is defensive war, war of any sort, consistent with 
Christianity and Friends' principles ? . . . The distinction of 
offensive and defensive will not hold, as there can be no war without 
opposition, murder only." 

If the argument against possible abuse forbids the "use and 
existence " of things, it may, says Galton, be carried far. The 
farmer, the brewer, the importer and the distiller, would be 
responsible for intemperance and disease. " Upon this principle, 
who would be innocent ? " Such an argument shows the wide 


difference between a Samuel Galton and a John Woolman. Birkbeck 
gives some proof that the Society's conscience was awakening on 
the matter of temperance by noting " the enormous distilleries 
are not clear." No reflecting person, says Galton, will contend 
that firearms have ever caused war, their manufacture is only a 
consequence of war, and even an alleviation of its horrors. " Those 
horrid contents, since the invention of firearms, are universally 
allowed to have been less sanguinary and less ferocious." 

This remarkable argument is endorsed by Birkbeck, with justifi- 
able impatience, as " weak, foolish talk." 

Next Galton plunges into the war and peace texts of the New 
Testament, but in this argument he feels out of his depth and declares 
that he has no wish to explain the Scriptures much less to apologize 
for offensive war, " for which I profess the most decided abhorrence." 
He returns to the argument of Quaker precedent his own ancestry 
and other Friends who manufactured munitions of war. Birbeck 
admits that many Quakers have carried arms " until they became 
too heavy for them." 

Then, after a quotation from Penington in regard to defensive 
war, Galton points out the inconsistency of paying taxes and 
investing in loans, while refusing tithes. It is inconsistent, too, 
to use slave-grown products and food on which taxation is levied. 
" If you should be so conscientious as to abstain from all these 
enjoyments, I shall have no reason to complain of any partiality 
in applying the same strict construction of principle against me. 
I shall greatly admire the efficacy of your opinions, whilst I lament 
that the practice of your principles is not compatible with the situa- 
tion in which Providence has placed us." The sting of these remarks 
is partly removed by the fact that for some years Friends had been 
cautioned by the Yearly Meeting against war loans, and in common 
with other Abolitionists many members of the Society did abstain 
from sugar and other slave-grown products. Galton himself does 
not wish to be taken seriously, he does not suggest an extension 
of the " Penal code " " I have too sincere a respect for the right 
and duty of private judgment, and too strong a doubt of the 
compatibility of ecclesiastical censures and punishments with the 
genuine spirit and object of Christian discipline, not to express a 
most decided disapprobation of such a measure." On the contrary, 
he is opposed to the disownment of those who pay tithes and 
presumably, like the " Free Quakers " of Philadelphia, to all dis- 


ownments. 1 His "preference" of Friends before other sects will 
not be altered by any measures that the meeting may feel it their 
duty to carry out, or which may be imposed upon it by Yearly 
Meeting. The Galton " stubbornness " breaks out again in his 
concluding remark : 

" I mean to give no pledge or expectation to the Society with 
respect to the abandoning my business ; but to reserve to myself 
a perfect independence on that head, to act as circumstances suggest. 
So that whenever I may have an opportunity of withdrawing myself 
from those engagements consistently with my judgment, I shall 
have the satisfaction to feel that I act from spontaneous sentiment 
only, and not from unworthy influence. ... If I should be 
disowned, I shall not think that I have abandoned the Society, but 
that the Society have withdrawn themselves from their ancient 
tolerant spirit and practice." 

In spite of this plain declaration the anxiety of Midland Friends 
to retain Samuel Galton in membership was evinced in April 1796, 
when five Friends of the Quarterly Meeting (Warwick, Leicester, 
and Rutland) were present by appointment to " visit and assist " 
the Monthly Meeting, and two of them agreed to join with the 
Friends alreadv concerned in the matter in a further visit to the 
delinquent. The arrangements continued for three months, but at 
the July Meeting in Birmingham, again attended by Quarterly 
Meeting Friends, no satisfactory report could be given. They 
had had " some conversation with Galton respecting the business 
alluded to and find it remains in the same state as reported to the 
Monthly Meeting, and this meeting being painfully affected there- 
with, and our Friend William Lythall having expressed desire to 
see the Party on the occasion in company with some other Friends 
on the appointment, who have also expressed a willingness to see 
him again, this meeting approves thereof." But a message from 
the Quarterly Meeting calls the " solid attention " of Birmingham 
Friends to a minute sent down from the late Yearly Meeting : 
" A deficiency contained in the answer to the eighth query from the 
Quarterly Meeting of Warwickshire, Leicester, and Rutland, having 
again come under the notice of this meeting, it is earnestly recom- 
mended to that Quarterly Meeting that the same be brought to 
a speedy and satisfactory issue, and our testimony against war and 
fighting maintained inviolate." 

1 Vide Chapter XV, p. 412. 


The issue came speedily enough. In August " one of the Friends 
appointed to visit Samuel Galton, Junior, reports that on having 
further conversation with him respecting his business, he stated 
the continuance of the impracticability of his relinquishing that part 
of the concern which had given Friends uneasiness. This meeting, 
therefore, in order for the clearing of our Society from an imputation 
of a practice so inconsistent as that of fabricating instruments for 
the destruction of mankind, thinks it incumbent upon us (after 
the great labour that has been bestowed) to declare him not in unity 
with Friends, and hereby disowns him as a Member of our religious 
Society ; nevertheless we sincerely desire he may experience such 
a conviction of the rectitude of our principles and a practice corre- 
spondent therewith as may induce Friends to restore him again 
into unity with them." 

As Galton had foretold, he disregarded the disownment and, 
with his wife, continued to attend the worship of Friends. Of 
course he could take no part in business meetings. On his death 
in 1832 he was buried in the Bull Street graveyard. In religion, 
as Professor Karl Pearson says, he was practically a Deist ; he was 
a close friend of Dr. Priestley and showed his courage by offering 
him hospitality after the riots of 1 791. 

In 18023 Galton gave up the gun business, converting it into 
a bank in 1804. In 1803 the meeting accepted from him a donation 
towards the enlargement of the Friends' burial-ground. 1 Possibly 
this was to ensure for his wife and himself a grave, and it may also 
have been accepted with the knowledge of his change of business. 

1 Francis Galton, p. 45. 



The early history of the Friends is one long record of invincible fortitude 
displayed in the presence of atrocious malevolence and unsparing ridicule. 
Theirs was a courage that the world calls passive and not active ; the 
distinction is an idle one, for nobody who has seen the Friends working in 
the thick of a famine or a fever, directing the operations of the life brigade 
on a stormy sea coast or immersed in the heat and turmoil of a contested 
election, will ever doubt that they are potentially the keenest of fighters, 
Sir George Trevelyan, The American Revolution. 


at J< 


!1 ^ : - 






The end of the struggle with Napoleon left a world weary of war. 
In all the belligerent countries a heavy load of taxation pressed 
upon the citizens, and among the working classes distress was acute. 
In addition, the political reaction and continued suppression of 
popular rights disappointed idealists, who had hoped that when 
the menace of a French despotism was removed, the nations might 
have opportunity for internal reforms. These influences reinforced 
the natural horror with which humane and thoughtful men regarded 
the bloodshed and devastation of the long years of war. In England, 
at least, the sentiment in favour of peace was stronger and more wide- 
spread than ever before, and the opportunity arose for an organized 
movement to promote international good-will. This movement had 
its origin within the Society of Friends. In June 18 14 (6th mo. 7) 
William Allen noted in his journal "a meeting to consider of a 
new Society to spread tracts, etc., against war." z 

But though the meeting was held at his house in Plough Court, 
Lombard Street, and Allen was thus one of the first founders of 
the Peace Society, the idea actually originated with another Friend, 
Joseph Tregelles Price, an ironmaster of Neath Abbey. He had 
been so impressed by the considerate treatment an unarmed trading 
vessel owned by him had received from an enemy ship, that he felt 
it his duty to spread abroad the doctrines of peace which he professed. 3 
Although the formation of the Peace Society was discussed in 18 14, 

1 Life of William Allen, i. 191. 

* The vessel was a collier, the Clifton Union, bound from Neath for Falmouth. 
The French captor asked why it was unarmed. The captain replied that it 
belonged to men " who believed that all war was forbidden by Christianity." 
The Frenchman at once left the ship and allowed it to return home {Herald of 
Peace, 1853, p. 175, a letter from Price himself). 



it was not actually established until 1816, after the final Peace of 
Paris. The original members, in number ten, were not all Friends, 
but included Churchmen and Nonconformists. 1 Its basis was 
religious (" war is inconsistent with the spirit of Christianty and 
the true interests of mankind ") but unsectarian, as it admitted as 
members all " desirous of the promotion of peace on earth and 
good-will towards men." The first American Peace Society was 
founded independently in 1815 ; in 1819, largely through the 
influence of Tregelles Price, a French Societe de Morale Chretienne 
was established, which had for one of its objects the promotion of 

For many years the peace movement in England and, to a large 
extent, on the Continent was inspired and organized by the Peace 
Society. It met with abundant ridicule and some angry opposition, 
but its leaders, many of them Friends, persevered, doing all in 
their power, by speech, pen, and influence, to uphold their cause. 
The programme of the Peace Society from the first included the 
substitution of arbitration for war, a general reduction of armaments, 
and the institution of an International Court for the settlement 
of disputes. This is not the place to relate its history in detail, but 
Friends played an active part in the pioneer efforts towards Interna- 
tional Peace Congresses held between the years 1848 and 1851 
at Brussels, Paris, Frankfort, and London. 2 Tregelles Price was 
a leader of the movement till his death, and it may be said that he 
died in peace harness, for he had come to London in the cold December 
of 1854 to join in the Peace Society's protest against the Crimean 

Thus a channel was found for the peace activities of Friends 
in co-operation with others. Their personal convictions against 
military service were not severely tried in time of peace. In 18 14 
and again in 1 815 it was reported to the Yearly Meeting that ten 
young Quakers were in prison for refusal to serve, but after these 
dates very few instances appear. Although Militia distraints recur 

1 Among them were Thomas Clarkson, the Abolitionist, and Joseph Hall. 

* Among these Friends were Joseph Crosfield, Joseph Sturge, and Edmund 
Fry. Cobden, though not a Friend, was a leading speaker at the Congresses. 
In 1843 an International Peace Convention held in London addressed a plea for 
arbitration to all the civilized Governments, which was forwarded to each by 
deputations or through their Ambassadors. In 1844 the Massachusetts Legislature 
declared in favour of arbitration, and recommended it to the Congress of the 
United States. In 1849 Cobden introduced the proposal to the House of Commons, 
where he had seventy-nine supporters. 


in the pages of the Yearly Meeting records until the suspension 
of the Militia Ballot in i860, yet they are more sporadic in occurrence 
and much less serious in amount than the " sufferings " for Church 
rates and tithes. They mainly arose from rates levied to defray 
the expenses of the annual exercising of the militia, which was reduced 
to such small numbers that it became practically a volunteer body, 
the ballot being seldom put into force. Even when drawn, the authori- 
ties did not always require a Friend to provide a substitute, and if 
they thus dismissed the case, he escaped further inconvenience. 
If, however, they demanded a substitute the law of 1802-3 still 
stood, under which the propertied Quaker was distrained upon, 
and the unpropertied sent to prison for default. 1 

In 1846 and again in 1848, at the instance of Lord John Russell, 
the Government introduced Bills for the increase and embodiment 
of the militia. These proposals were in response to the anti-French 
agitation of the time, but on each occasion they roused so hearty 
a counter-agitation that they were hastily withdrawn. A proposed 
increase of the income tax, which was combined with the Militia 
Bill of 1 848, added to its unpopujarity. Large meetings of protest 
were held in the great towns ; Joseph Sturge, who had helped to 
organize that in Birmingham, received a letter from Douglas Jerrold 
promising the help of Punch and the Daily News against the war- 
fever. He added, " the fact of an anti-war meeting taking place 
in what may be called the arsenal of England is, indeed, encouraging." 3 
In January 1 848 the Meeting for Sufferings presented the Premier 
(Russell) with a grave remonstrance on the perils of increased military 
preparations. " We cannot but regard military preparations, even 
when undertaken by a nation on the ground of defence against 
apprehended or possible aggression, as calculated to irritate the 
inhabitants of other countries, and as therefore practically tending 
to precipitate the very events against which they profess to guard." 
Lord John Russell received this cogent appeal in a " kind and friendly 
manner," but it did not deter him from introducing his Militia 

1 The British Friend, January 1846, gives a clear statement of the law. This 
paper and the Friend (both founded as monthlies in 1843) during the troublous 
years 1846-8 of Chartist agitation, contain much discussion on the consistency 
or otherwise of a Friend acting as special constable. The editorial opinion, and 
that of many correspondents was clearly favourable, but there were instances where 
Friends refused the office and were fined in consequence {British Friend, 
November 1848). 

2 Life of Joseph Sturge (H. Richard), p. 406. 


Bill. 1 It was in reference to the meetings in opposition to this, and 
to those a few months later in favour of his arbitration proposals, 
that Cobden wrote to Sturge : " You peace people seem to be the 
only men who have courage just now to call a public meeting. I 
always say that there is more real pluck in the ranks of the Quakers 
than in all our regiments of redcoats." 3 The comparative ease with 
which the Militia Act of 1852 (15 & 16 Vic, c. 50) was passed, 
was due to the rise of Louis Napoleon to power, and to the sedulous 
panic-mongering by the Press and by military and naval experts. 
By the Act, Friends without property were specifically exempted 
from imprisonment. This concession, however, did not check 
their opposition to the Bill, under which 80,000 men were to be 
embodied in time of peace to be raised to 1 20,000 at an alarm of 
invasion. A strong petition against the Bill, drafted by the Meeting 
for Sufferings, was adopted by the Yearly Meeting. The latter 
body, in its Epistle commenting on the proposals, declared that : 
" The whole system of war is so directly at variance not only with 
the plain precepts of our Lord, but with the whole spirit of his 
gospel, that any attempt to bring under its influence those who 
are engaged in the ordinary peaceful occupations of life cannot but 
awaken painful apprehensions." 

The Bill was passed, but the great growth of volunteer rifle 
clubs led to the official recognition of the Volunteers in 1859, while 
in the next year the Militia Ballot Act authorized the suspension 
of the ballot for one year. This Act was annually renewed by 
Parliament, by which means the compulsory powers of the Govern- 
ment in regard to home defence were kept in a state of suspended 
animation until the year 19 16. It is characteristic of English methods 
that the Act was entitled " An Act to amend the laws relating to 
the ballots for the Militia in England, and to suspend the making 
of lists and ballots for the Militia of the United Kingdom," and that 
the majority of the clauses were occupied with elaborate arrangements 
for the ballot which was suspended by the remainder of the law. 
Amongst other provisions, the exemption from personal service 
granted in the Act of George III was continued to those "who 
become, or but for being Quakers, would become liable in the 
rotation " for the militia. Thus the Quaker claim was again speci- 
fically recognized, although for fifty-six years to come England, 
with her voluntarily recruited Army and Navy and volunteer 

1 Report in British Friend March 1848. * Life of Sturge, p. 424. 


auxiliaries, was free from the shadow of conscription, even for home 

The change in the legal position of Friends was partly responsible 
for the alterations in the " war query," during the nineteenth 
century. The query of 1792 stood unchanged (with the exception 
of the omission of the words "letters of Marque") until 1859. 
But in that year the whole list of queries was thoroughly revised, 
and in its new form approved by the Yearly Meeting of i860 
After the legislation of the past year, it was no longer necessary 
to inquire whether Friends were concerned in the militia. The 
new query, sweeping all details on one side, recognized a general 
principle of action. " Are Friends," it asked, " faithful in maintaining 
our Christian testimony against all war?" In 1875 the practice 
of requiring written answers to these queries from the subordinate 
meetings was dropped by the Yearly Meeting. Since that date they 
have been regularly read both in meetings for worship and in those 
for Church business, but they are left to the consideration of the 
individual conscience. To a newcomer into the Society there is 
perhaps nothing more impressive than the reading by the Clerk 
of the meeting of one of these queries, followed by a short pause 
for reflection and self-examination. Since 1875 the war query 
has been the eighth in order, and reads : 

" Are you faithful in maintaining our Christian testimony 
against all war, as inconsistent with the precepts and spirit of the 
gospel ? " 

Thus " the testimony against all war " for more than fifty years 
has been accepted by the members of the Society as an accurate 
description of the Quaker attitude. 1 There have been, undoubtedly, 
in time of peace always a small number of Friends who have openly 
criticized or silently disagreed with this article of the " Doctrine." 
In time of war these dissentients become more articulate and are 
reinforced by others who honestly believe the war of the day to 
be one waged on their country's side with much greater justification 

1 Dublin Yearly Meeting also adopted the revised queries. The phrase 
" testimony against all war," or its equivalent, had been used on many earlier 
occasions, e.g. in the Declaration of 1660, and by American Friends in the War 
of Independence. See also London Yearly Meeting Epistles, 1779, 1781, 1806, 
1809, 1839, 186 1, etc. The Society's Book of Christian Discipline in a section 
" Peace among the Nations " gathers together some of the most typical declarations 
of the testimony. This section was reprinted in 19 15 as a pamphlet, with the 
addition of further documents issued during the war. 


than any with which they are acquainted through the cold medium 
of history. Curiously enough, however, the line of attack on these 
occasions is not usually an appeal to the Society to abandon a 
traditional but untenable position, but an attempt to prove that the 
peace testimony is a comparatively new development, not in the 
orthodox line of Quakerism. 

Yet the most intellectual Quaker writer of the early nineteenth 
century unhesitatingly proclaimed the " testimony " as an integral 
part of his Society's ethics. Jonathan Dymond's Essays on the 
Principles of Morality won the praise of Southey and Bright, 
and still find readers and admirers. 1 Born in Exeter of an old Quaker 
family in 1796, Dymond grew into a delicate and thoughtful youth, 
something of a poet and nature-lover, who exercised his mind by 
wide reading and (after the fashion of the day) by membership of 
an Essay Society. The contest with Napoleon, which overshadowed 
his boyhood, helped to strengthen his hereditary opposition to war. 
As early as 18 19 he contributed discussions on war to his Essay 
Society ; in 1823 he published a more elaborate treatise, An 
Inquiry into the Accordancy of War with the Principles of Christi- 
anity and an Examination of the Philosophical Reasoning by which 
it is Defended. This brought him into some repute among his own 
religious body and the supporters of the Peace Society, of which 
he became an active member. But a severe illness in 1826 caused 
the almost complete loss of his voice, an affliction which he bore 
with exemplary patience and resolution. He worked steadily at 
his more ambitious treatise on The Principles of Morality^ and at his 
death in 1828 this was left in manuscript practically complete. 
It was published in the following year, with an explanatory note 
stating that the author had been dissatisfied with existing text- 
books of moral philosophy, in particular with the utilitarianism of 
Paley, and had attempted to correct them by a system of morality 
based upon the revealed Will of God. 

His editor calls this a " code of scripture ethics," but such a 
definition is too narrow, since Dymond devotes a long chapter to 
a discussion of " the immediate communication of the will of God," 
or, in other words, the doctrine of the Light Within. In fact, 
consciously or unconsciously, the work is an attempt to give a logical 

1 The ninth edition was published in 1894. Bright had contributed a preface 
to the eighth, nine years earlier. The Essay on War was published separately 
by the Friends' Peace Committee in 191 5. 


basis of the faith and practice of Friends. The deeper questions 
raised in philosophical and metaphysical studies are not touched, 
but the chapters range over a wide field of practical ethics. Here 
there is no need to consider the general merits of the book. Southey's 
verdict at the time was that it had " such ability and (was) sd 
excellently intended, as well as well executed, that those who 
differ most widely from some of its conclusions, must regard the 
writer with the greatest respect and look upon his early death as 
a public loss." J 

While Southey wrote in strong approval of the moral principles 
laid down by Dymond, he could not refrain from some gentle censure 
of the section upon political morality. A Quaker, he remarked, 
was necessarily a " leveller," and thus held " political opinions which 
are not harmless when brought into action, because they strike 
at the roots of the British constitution." Indeed, Dymond's offence 
seems to have been that he considered the British Constitution, 
as it existed in the year 1829, was capable of further improvement. 
To the modern reader his remarks on elective monarchies, the 
advantages of a democratic Government, of an extended franchise 
and electoral reform, and on Catholic relief, are neither startling 
nor revolutionary. 

Southey criticizes these portions of the book at such length that 
he has no space to consider the chapter on war, and dismisses it with 
the comment that if the young author had lived to middle age, 
" he might have retained his persuasion of the unlawfulness of war ; 
but he would have seen reason to be thankful that fleets and armies 
protect the British Quakers against foreign enemies, and that penal 
laws protect them against violence at home." 2 

The chapter on war in the Principles is in substance the same 
as the earlier essay, though it is revised and amplified. Dymond 
had felt and thought deeply on the subject. He had written (in a 
private letter of the year 1826), " I am inclined to hope that (after 

1 Quarterly Revieto, January 183 1, pp. 83-120. 

* Southey might have found it difficult to discuss the argument, as Dymond 
had included him among a list of " acute and enlightened men " convinced of 
the unlawfulness of war, quoting in support the following passage from the History 
of Brazil (1810-19). " There is but one community of Christians in the world, 
and that, unhappily, of all communities one of the smallest, enlightened enough 
to understand the prohibition of war by our Divine Master, in its plain, literal, 
and undeniable sense, and conscientious enough to obey it, subduing the very 
instinct of nature to obedience." He might have added the familiar lines on 
" The Battle of Blenheim " in further testimony. 


the approaching day is passed when slavery shall be abolished) the 
attention and the labours of Friends will be more conspicuously 
and publicly directed than they have hitherto been to the question 
of war an evil before which, in my estimation, slavery sinks into 
insignificance." " I doubt not " (he added) " that now is the time 
for anti-slavery exertion. The time will come for anti-war 
exertion." 1 

His own clear statement of the case against war has served as 
material for much later " anti-war exertion," and need not be dealt 
with here at length. He summarized his arguments in a few short 
propositions, of which the two following practically cover the 
ground : 

" That the general character of Christianity is wholly incon- 
gruous with war, and that its general duties are incompatible 
with it. . . . 

" That those who have refused to engage in war, in consequence 
of their belief of its inconsistency with Christianity, have found 
that providence has protected them." 

This latter proposition perhaps accounts for his most notable 
omission from a statement of the causes of war, in which he does 
not mention wars of liberation undertaken on behalf of an oppressed 
people, or by that people against their rulers. Already, in a chapter 
on " Civil Obedience," he had expressed the belief that even in such 
cases a policy of " resolute non-compliance " would attain the desired 
end more effectually, and at the cost of less suffering than any warlike 
measures. He was at any rate consistent, for he applied the same 
rule to the individual in his discussions of the rights of self-defence 
and of the death penalty, maintaining that though forms of coercion 
to prevent crime were lawful, yet neither the advantage of the 
individual nor the community could justify the taking of life. His 
arguments, however, were not confined to moral and religious 
considerations. In a powerful section he stated the social and political 
evils involved the suffering, bereavement, and poverty which follow 
in the train of war. The supposed justification of war from the 
practices of the Old Testament he treated with unconcealed contempt. 
At the very outset of his work he had remarked that in questions of 
morality " an appeal to the Hebrew Scriptures is frequently made 
when the precepts of Christianity would be too rigid for our purpose. 
He who insists upon a pure morality applies to the New Testament : 

* Memoir by C. W. Dymond. 


he who desires a little more indulgence, defends himself by arguments 
from the Old." This attitude is in remarakable contrast to that of 
another Friend, Joseph John Gurney, who in an almost contemporary 
account of Quakerism, is put to sore straits in the chapter on War, 1 
by his attempt to maintain at once the unchristian character of 
modern wars and the uplifting and purifying influence of those 
waged by the Jews. Dymond's last words on war were addressed 
to those already convinced of the truth of his thesis. " What then 
are the duties of a subject who believes that all war is incompatible 
with his religion, but whose governors engage in a war and deemand 
his service ? We answer explicitly : It is his duty mildly and 
temperately, yet firmly, to refuse to serve. Let such as these remember 
that an honourable and an awful duty is laid upon them. It is upon 
their fidelity, so far as human agency is concerned, that the cause 
of peace is suspended. Let them then be willing to avow their 
opinions and to defend them. Neither let them be contented with 
words, if more than words, if suffering also, is required." 

John Bright was an admiring student of Dymond's book, and 
the courageous and fervid eloquence with which he opposed later 
wars drew its material to some extent from the more prosaic, though 
equally sincere utterances of his fellow Quaker. But for many 
years to come Friends, in England at least, had little opportunity 
to seal their peace principles by suffering. On the other hand, in this 
half-century, they made peculiarly their own the task of relieving 
the sufferings which war leaves behind it. 2 William Allen in 1822, 
on his way to plead the cause of the slave to the diplomatists 
assembled at Verona, saw at Vienna the piteous state of Greek 
refugees escaped from the " massacre of Scio," and other Turkish 
outrages. Returning to England, he stirred up his fellow-members ; 
the Meeting for Sufferings raised a fund of ^8,000, which was 
disbursed by competent agents among the refugees collected at 

1 J. J. Gurney, Observations on . . . the Society of Friends, 1834. Gurney 's 
arguments were probably meant as a reply not only to the rationalistic attitude 
of Elias Hicks and his followers, which led to the Separation of 1828 in America, 
but also to the views of Abraham Shackleton and other Irish Friends, for which 
they were disowned in the beginning of the nineteenth century. Shackleton's 
difficulty " lay in the supposed divine command . . . enjoining the children of 
Israel to wage wars of extermination against Canaanite peoples (R. Jones, Later 
Periods of Quakerism, p. 293). This was also a count in the charge of unsound 
teaching brought against Hannah Barnard, a visiting Friend from America, by 
some English leaders in 1802 {op. cit. 302-3). 

* This field of service was not new ; a noteworthy instance was the relief work 
of American Friends round Boston in 1775-6 (vide Chapter XV, p. 392). 


Trieste, Ancona, Leghorn, Odessa, Malta, Marseilles, and other 

The relief work carried out by the Society during the years of 
the Irish famine is better known to their countrymen, through 
Cobden's eloquent tribute, 1 and its reproduction in Lord Morley's 
Life of that statesman. Cobden argued that the courage and devotion 
displayed in war may be turned into nobler fields of social service 
and reform. 

" A famine fell upon nearly one half of a great nation. The 
whole world hastened to contribute money and food. But a few 
courageous men left their homes in Middlesex and Surrey, and 
penetrated to the remotest glens and bogs of the west coast of the 
stricken island, to administer relief with their own hands. To say 
that they found themselves in the valley of the shadow of death 
would be but an imperfect image ; they were in the charnel house 
of a nation. Never since the fourteenth century did Pestilence, the 
gaunt handmaid of Famine, glean so rich a harvest. In the midst 
of a scene, which no field of battle ever equalled in danger, in the 
number of its slain, or the sufferings of the surviving, these brave 
men moved as calm and undismayed as though they had been in their 
own homes. The population sank so fast that the living could not 
bury the dead ; half-interred bodies protruded from the gaping 
graves ; often the wife died in the midst of her starving children, 
whilst her husband lay a festering corpse by her side. Into the 
midst of these horrors did our heroes penetrate, dragging the dead 
from the living with their own hands, raising the head of famishing 
infancy, and pouring nourishment into parched lips from which 
shot fever flames more deadly than a volley of musketry. Here was 
courage. No music strung the nerves ; no smoke obscured the 
imminent danger ; no thunder of artillery deadened the senses. 
It was cool self-possession and resolute will calculating risk and 
heroic resignation. And who were these brave men ? To what 
gallant corps did they belong ? Were they of the horse, foot, or 
artillery force ? They were Quakers from Clapham and Kingston ! 
If you would know what heroic actions they performed, you must 
inquire from those who witnessed them. You will not find them in 
the volume of reports published by themselves for Quakers write 
no bulletins of their victories." 

1 Political Writings of Richard Cobden, ii. 378 (1793 and 1853). Life oj 
Cobden, ch. xxi. 


In his geographical limitations Cobden did less than justice 
to those he praised so liberally. The reports he mentioned l show 
that the work was carried out by a large number of English and 
Irish Friends, and are scrupulously careful to explain that their 
organization was only one branch of the measures of relief attempted 
by a conscience-stricken Government and nation. There was a 
Central Friends' Committee in Dublin, with auxiliaries in the 
provinces, and a sister Committee in London. These bodies raised 
nearly 200,000, of which more than half came as food from 
America, not only or mainly from Friends, though they were 
responsible for the organization of the shipments. Among the English 
Friends who personally worked at the distribution of relief in the 
stricken districts were William Forster, his son (the Education 
Minister of 1870), James Hack Tuke, and Joseph Crosfield. 
There were also, of course, many Irish Friends engaged in the 
work. Besides the immediate distribution of food, some con- 
structive relief was undertaken seed corn was provided for the 
farmers and small-holders, and grants made to fishermen who in 
their poverty had been forced to pawn their nets. 

Many Friends also worked vigorously for Free Trade and 
Franchise Reform among them, to name only two, Joseph Sturge 
and John Bright. But, with the important exception of the anti- 
slavery movement, the official bodies of the Society were very 
chary of identifying it with public causes during this period. " Study 
to be quiet " was the advice pressed upon young and impetuous 

1 Transactions Relating to the Famine in Ireland, 1846-7 (Dublin) (see also the 
Lives of the Friends named, particularly that of James Hack Tuke, by Sir E. Fry) . 
The following reminiscence of Quaker experience during the abortive Rebellion 
of 1848, is contributed by J. Ernest Grubb of Carrick-on-Suir, County Waterford. 
This district was a centre of the Rebellion, and most of the Protestant inhabitants 
of the little town fled in alarm to the garrison at Waterford, to England, or even to 
America. J. Ernest Grubb, however, recalls that his father and mother remained 
with their three young children (of whom he was one) quietly at their home. 
" My father was engaged in the iron trade and sold steel which was in considerable 
demand for making pikes. However, when the disturbances began he refused to 
sell steel of the sizes and quality needed for pikes. . . . My mother took us 
children our usual walks without hindrance " (although the rebels under Smith 
O'Brien were encamped four miles to the north while the town and district were 
alive with soldiers, who searched every house for arms), and the family went 
regularly each Sunday the fourteen miles drive to Meeting at Clonmel. A few 
miles away, Curraghmore, the seat of the Marquis of Waterford, was guarded 
by cannon and a strong body of armed men ; the young Marquis went about 
fully armed and his beautiful wife was not allowed out of sight of the windows 
(Augustus Hare, Story of Two Noble Lives, i. 304-13). 


members. Even active work for peace was carried on through the 
channels of the Peace Society. Yet the genuine spiritual revival 
in Quakerism, after the formalism of the mid-eighteenth century, 
overflowed in many individual Friends into channels of social reform 
and international friendship. The work of John Bright is described 
in a separate chapter. Here another Friend may be taken as typical 
of the " universal spirit " which was beginning to stir the Society 
to new life. 

Joseph Sturge was born in 1793, of a family which had belonged 
to the Society of Friends since the days of George Fox. In 18 13, 
as already mentioned, he refused militia service. Next year he 
entered the corn trade, and his firm soon became one of high standing 
in that business. In 1822 he settled in Birmingham. The abolition 
of slavery, franchise reform, free trade, temperance, the adult school 
movement were all causes into each of which he threw enough 
of his energy and resources to satisfy the conscience of any ordinary 
man. But peace and freedom were the nearest to his heart. His 
friend, the American peace advocate, Elihu Burritt, wrote of him 
that it was a happy coincidence for the people of Birmingham to 
place his memorial statue at " The Five Ways," where Edgbaston 
and Birmingham meet, since " Freedom, Peace, Temperance, 
Charity, and Godliness were the five ways of his good and beautiful 

In 1 81 8 he founded, at Worcester, one of the earliest branches 
of the Peace Society, and nine years later another at Birmingham. 
In 1839 he took active part in the opposition to the Chinese War 
and to the opium traffic from which it sprang. From a visit to the 
United States in 1841 he returned a warm supporter of Jay's proposal 
for the insertion of an arbitration clause in all treaties. For the 
next twenty years he was the soul of the Peace movement, helping 
in the conventions and congresses organized by the Peace Society, 
but more especially throwing all his personal and public influence 
into the promotion of good relations between his own countrymen 
and the peoples of the United States and France. The boundary 
disputes with the former country and the English mistrust, first 
of the Orleans dynasty and then of Louis Napoleon, made this work 
one of pressing necessity. 

Henry Richard, his biographer, wrote well of Sturge's peace 
belief, that it was " something far more than one of the dogmas 
of an hereditary creed. In proportion, as his own spirit was brought 


under the power of the gospel, did this tradition which he had 
received from the fathers deepen into a profound personal conviction. 
His belief, like that of most of those who share his views, rested 
not, as is generally but mistakenly represented, upon a literal interpre- 
tation of a few isolated passages of scripture, but upon what he felt 
to be an essential and irreconcilable antagonism in principle, spirit, 
and tendency between a religion of charity and brotherly love and 
the whole system of malignity and violence which war inevitably 

But Sturge held his views in charity to all men. " It is a mystery " 
(he once wrote in a private letter to a friend) " which I cannot 
fathom, why those who are equally anxious to act up to the directions 
and spirit of the New Testament see so differently as to what these 
require. Nothing, for instance, has surprised and grieved me more 
than to witness the views entertained by many on the subject of war, 
who, I cannot doubt, have made much further advances in the 
Christian life than I have. But it seems to be the will of Him who 
is infinite in wisdom that light upon great subjects should first arise 
and be gradually spread, through the faithfulness of individuals 
in acting up to their own convictions." and he instanced the work 
of John Woolman against slavery. 1 

There were three occasions on which Sturge was able to take 
practical, though not in every case successful, steps to forward inter- 
national peace. These were : an attempted mediation between 
Denmark and the Duchies of Schleswig-Holstein in 1850, the 
peace deputation to the Czar in January 1854, and the mission 
of relief to Finland at the close of the Crimean War. 

The vexed question of Schleswig-Holstein, which in 1864 
gave Bismarck his first opportunity to increase the power of Prussia, 
had led in 1848 to an attempt by the German majority in the Duchies 

1 Life of Sturge, pp. 414-15. It was during the anti-French panic of 1853 
that Cobden who, though a courageous advocate of peace, never committed himself 
to a condemnation of all war and military defence, made this interesting comment 
on the advantages and drawbacks of an alliance with the Quakers. " The soul 
of the Peace movement is the Quaker sentiment against all war. Without the 
stubborn zeal of the Friends there could be no Peace Society and no Peace 
Conference. But the enemy takes good care to turn us all into Quakers, because 
the non-resistance principle puts us out of court as practical politicians of the 
present day. Our opponents insist on it that we wish to totally disarm, and leave 
ourselves at the mercy of Louis Napoleon and the French ; nay, they say we 
actually invite them to come and invade us " (Letter quoted in Morley, Life of 
Cobden, ch. xxi). 


to free them from Danish sovereignty. At first supported by other 
German States, the Duchies were hard pressed after Prussia 
had concluded a separate peace with Denmark in July 1850. In 
August the Peace Congress held its sittings at Frankfort, and 
Dr. Bodenstedt of Berlin appealed to that body to urge the 
belligerents to make use of arbitration. Under the rules of its constitu- 
tion the Congress was unable to intervene, but Joseph Sturge, 
Frederick Wheeler (another Friend), Elihu Burritt, and Dr. 
Varrantrap, the German Secretary of the Congress, resolved to make 
the attempt as an unofficial deputation. They were received by 
representatives both of the de facto Government of the Duchies, 
and that of Denmark, and reminded them that an old treaty 
between Denmark and the Duchies made provision for the settle- 
ment of disputes by arbitration. In response to the suggestion " the 
two Governments had gone so far as to appoint a sort of unofficial 
negotiator on each side ... to confer as to the character and 
constitution of the proposed court of arbitration. At that time 
Chevalier Bunsen, who was Prussian Ambassador in this country, 
told Mr. Cobden that he had a stronger hope of adjustment of the 
matter in dispute from that pacific embassy than from all that had 
been done before by the professional diplomatists of Europe." 1 
These latter, however, interposed at the critical moment, and 
by the authority of Great Britain, France, Norway, Russia and 
Austria, the unwilling Duchies were restored to Denmark. 

The opening of the Great Exhibition in 1851 was the stimulus 
to the expression of a good deal of rather evanescent peace sentiment. 
The tried advocates of peace, however, certainly did not share the 
view that an era of unbroken good-will had set in. Had they done 
so, they would soon have been undeceived. The coup d'etat of 
December 1851 increased the popular prejudice against Louis 
Napoleon, and men like Bright and Sturge had much to do in 
combating the rising tide of fear and ill-will. Yet with startling 
suddenness the tide suddenly changed its direction. English 
politicians joined with the hated Napoleon to oppose the claims 
of Russia in the Near East. As the menace of war grew nearer, 
the thought came to Sturge that possibly the Society of Friends 
had the duty laid upon it of pleading with the Czar on behalf of 
peace. The intercourse between Alexander the First and the Quakers 
of his day might give modern Friends some right to claim a hearing ; 

1 Life of Sturge, p. 454. 


they were known to be impartial in their advocacy, and to be inspired 
not by political but religious motives. And while public opinion 
in England was unmistakably bellicose, and it was a weary task 
to convert millions of angry and ill-informed voters, there was at 
least the chance that the individual mind of the absolute ruler might 
be more open to pacific appeals. With arguments such as these 
Sturge brought his " concern " before the Meeting for Sufferings, 
and on January 17, 1854, it was approved by that body in the 
following minute : " This Meeting has been introduced into much 
religious concern in contemplating the apparent probability of war 
between some of the nations of Europe. Deeply impressed with 
the enormous amount of evil that invariably attends the prosecution 
of war, and with the utter inconsistency of all war with the spirit 
of Christianity and the precepts of its divine Founder as set forth 
in the New Testament, this meeting has concluded, under a strong 
sense of religious duty, to present an address to Nicholas, Emperor 
of Russia, on this momentous question ; and it also concludes to 
appoint Joseph Sturge, Robert Charleton, and Henry Pease to be 
the bearers of this address, and if the opportunity for so doing be 
afforded, to present the same in person. 

" In committing this service to our dear brethren, we crave for 
them, in the prosecution of it, the help and guidance of that wisdom 
i which is from above ; and we commend them, as well as the cause 
ientrusted to them, to the blessing of Almighty God." 1 

The deputation left England on the 20th of January. It was 
no light impulse which moved three men of more than middle age 
to brace all the rigours of a long journey through a northern winter 
to a country which at any moment might be at war with their own. 
When they reached St. Petersburg their personal reception was all 
that was kind and courteous. After they had held private interviews 
;with Nesselrode, the Foreign Minister, and other high officials, 
the Czar and Nesselrode received them for the presentation of the 
Address. 2 

1 The Times and other contemporary publications (as Kinglake, the historian 
of the war) persistently declared that this deputation was sent by the Peace Society. 
The first assertion was made in The Times of January 23rd, and though it was 
contradicted and corrected in next morning's issue by the Secretary of the Peace 
Society, the leader-writers ignored the correction and continued to repeat the 

3 For the Address, vide Appendix D. Cornelius Jansen, a Mennonite, 
translated and widely distributed the Address in Russia. 



This was followed by a speech from Joseph Sturge, leaving 
the political question on one side, but pressing the moral and religious 
arguments against war. " Among the multitudes who would be the 
victims in the event of a European war, the greatest sufferers would 
probably be not those who had caused the war, but innocent men 
with their wives and children." He ended with a hearty expression 
of good-will towards the Emperor. 1 The latter seemed affected 
even to tears, and the Empress, with whom the visitors had afterwards 
a most friendly conversation, told them that this was the case. The 
three Friends were fully convinced of the Czar's sincerity, and believed 
that he intended to make some further proposals for peace, since 
they were asked to stay a day or two beyond the date originally 
fixed for their return. But on that date (February 14th) a sudden 
chill appeared in the attitude of their Russian acquaintances. " Nor," 
said Charleton, " were we at a loss to account for this change. 
The Mail from England had arrived, with newspapers giving an 
account of the opening of Parliament and of the intensely warlike 
speeches in the House of Commons." 2 

The mission was loudly denounced by the war party in England. 
The Times, indeed, on February 21st, was contemptuously friendly. 
" We must not deny to the gentlemen engaged in this piece of 
enthusiastic folly the praise of sincerity." It was " unfitting to 
ridicule " their " well-meant admonition," even to a " half-crazy 
monarch." But two days later the leader-writer changed his mind, 
and poured a flood of ridicule upon the " mischievous " deputation. 
" Every principle," he announced, " is mischievous which leads 
men to place reliance upon visionary hopes and feelings," a 
condemnation which would involve most systems of religion.3 The 
deputation also gained the notice of a slighting and inaccurate page 
in Kinglake's Invasion of the Crimea. But the historian's assertion 

1 From an account by Robert Charleton quoted in the Life of Sturge. 

J Life of Sturge, p. 480. War was declared by England on March 28, 1854. 

3 The Times was always unsympathetic to the peace cause. It even sent a special 
correspondent to Frankfort in 1850, for the purpose of turning the Peace Congress 
into ridicule, and on August 29, 1850, followed this by a leading article taunting 
the Congress with having done nothing to stop the war in Schleswig. Yet if the 
writer had known of Sturge's attempt at mediation, he would probably have 
ridiculed it as he did in 1854. But The Times' conversion, as regards the Crimean 
War, was comparatively rapid. "Never," it wrote in i860, "was so great an 
effort made for so worthless an object. ... It is with no small reluctance we 
admit a gigantic effort and an infinite sacrifice, to have been made in vain 
(August 16, i860). 


that the Czar afterwards cherished a bitter grudge against his visitors, 
accusing them of misleading him about English sentiment, is 
supported by no evidence, and was certainly not borne out by the 
widowed Empress' later intercourse with other Friends, to whom 
she mentioned the mission " in a very different tone from what we 
should have expected had she been aware that the remembrance of 
it had driven the Emperor to the transport of wrath described by 
Mr. Kinglake."* At the Yearly Meeting of 1854 Bright was 
emphatic in his approval of the enterprise. 

The two Quaker weeklies took a strong line against the war, 
and there seems to have been great unanimity in the Society in its 
condemnation. A few years before, the question had been raised 
in Yearly Meeting whether Friends could consistently supply clothing 
to the Army, when the Clerk " gave it as the judgment of the Society 
that the supplying of such articles was clearly a violation of our 
testimony." 2 In the winter of 18545 some criticisms were made 
by zealous Friends of a transaction between the War Office and 
a firm of Quaker leather merchants. The firm (C. & J. Clark 
of Street) defended their action in a letter to the British Friend.l 
They explained that, when the War Office began to take tardy 
measures for the protection of the troops against the Crimean winter, 
it tried to make a provision of sheepskin coats. An application was 
made to the Clarks, who held almost the only stock of suitable skins, 
but they refused to accept an army contract. As the winter advanced 
and the sufferings of the troops increased, a fresh appeal was made. 
This time the firm accepted the contract, but the partners determined 
to gain no advantage from it. The entire profits, about 300, 
were used as the nucleus of a fund for a new school-building in 
the village. An anonymous Friend, indeed, wrote next month 
to the journal that the Clarks were guilty of the death of many 
Russians, since by their supplies English soldiers were kept alive 
to kill the enemy, but his logic was not echoed by his fellow members. 

In December 1854 the Meeting for Sufferings resolved to 
circulate an appeal against the continuance of the war, although, 
as the minute remarked, "at this critical juncture, and under the 
excited state of public feeling, the adoption of this course has been 

1 Life of Sturge, p. 482. For Kinglake, vide Invasion of Crimea, i. ch, xxiii. 
402, and iv. ch. ii. 46. 

2 British Friend, 1851, p. 69. 

3 Ibid., January 1855. 


felt to be truly serious, and warranted only by a strong apprehension 
of religious duty." Under the title : " A Christian Appeal from the 
Society of Friends to their fellow countrymen on the present war," 1 
about 50,000 copies were circulated. The language was uncompro- 
mising enough. War between Christian nations, it asserted, involved 
the adoption of a heathen standard by them. " That which is morally 
and religiously wrong cannot be politically right." 

Sturge had his full share of the unpopularity which fell to the 
opponents of the war. Even in Birmingham he was shouted down 
at a public meeting, and the more ignorant charged him with 
responsibility for the high price of corn. Cobden consoled him with 
the reminder that Quaker corn-merchants endured the same accusa- 
tion in the Napoleonic War. From across the Atlantic his friend, 
Judge Jay, wrote : " You Quakers and those who act with you 
are the real heroes of the war." He was not deterred from doing 
what he could in the interests of peace and humanity. When the 
war ended in 1856, the standing Committee of the Peace Congress 
waited on the Prime Minister urging that the negotiators at Paris 
should include among their recommendations the settlement of 
future disputes by arbitration. With Palmerston they made little 
way, but when it was suggested that a direct appeal to the 
Plenipotentiaries might be more effective, Sturge at once agreed 
to join in a small deputation to Paris. There they found warm 
sympathy from Lord Clarendon, and unexpected support from the 
French and Prussian Plenipotentiaries. Clarendon introduced the 
question in the sittings of the Congress, when his colleagues (as 
Gladstone said later) expressed "at least a qualified disapproval of 
a resort to war, and asserted the supremacy of reason, of justice, 
humanity, and religion." 2 

1 In D. (Tracts G 112). 

2 Protocol No. 23. " The Plenipotentiaries do not hesitate to express in the 
name of their Governments, the wish that States, between which any serious 
misunderstandings may arrive, should, before resorting to arms, have recourse 
so far as circumstances might allow, to the good offices of a friendly Power. The 
Plenipotentiaries hope that the Governments not represented at the Congress 
will unite in the sentiment which has inspired the wish recorded in the present 
protocol." Another deputation, this time of Friends from the Meeting for 
Sufferings, visited all the Plenipotentiaries (excepting England, but including 
Turkey) with a " plea on behalf of liberty of conscience." They were courteously 
treated by all, but found that only Cavour had any real conception of religious 
tolerance (Report in Book of Cases, iv. 190). When Robert Charleton and two other 
Friends visited the Northern Governments on the same errand in 1858 Prince 
Gortschakoff told them frankly that the circulation of the document in Russia 


The war was over, but the sufferings caused by the war 
continued, and Sturge still had work to do. In 1854 the coast of 
Finland had been ravaged by the British fleet, to the great loss, 
and indeed ruin, of many non-combatants. Timber stores, mer- 
chants' warehouses, and shipyards were burnt down, stock carried 
away from the farms, and even the fishermen's boats and nets 
destroyed. " One shriek of woe sounds throughout Finland," 
wrote The Times correspondent. 1 At the time nothing could 
be done. Sir James Graham answered a Parliamentary criti- 
cism of the Baltic operations in true Governmental style. ' The 
officers had only obeyed their instructions and were open to no 
criticism whatever. . . . Every effort had been made to dis- 
tinguish between public and private property, but the difficulty 
of doing so was one of the unhappy incidents of war. ... It will 
be hard, indeed, if at the commencement of a war involving immense 
difficulties and sacrifices, it shall be related to our gallant officers 
and seamen that the first notice taken of their conduct in the 
British House of Commons partook of the character of censure." 3 

But some Englishmen did not forget the Finns. In September 

1856 Joseph Sturge and Thomas Harvey (one of a Quaker family 

well known in Leeds) journeyed to make inquiries on the spot. 

They found the sufferers moderate in their statements of losses, 

but still heavily straitened by them (and by a serious failure of the 

harvest), and pathetically bewildered by such action on the part of 

England, to whom they had looked with reverence as the land of 

progress and liberty. " We can't think of the English as before," 

said one to Sturge. A merchant told them that " the printing by 

the British and Foreign Bible Society of the New Testament and 

the Psalms in their own language had made a deep impression on 

the Finnish people ; but after the ravages committed on the property 

of unarmed and unoffending fishermen and peasants during the war, 

the cry was, ' Can these be the English : our friends ? ' to which 

could not be allowed. On the other hand, the Danish and Swedish Governments 
were friendly, and the "Plea" was published at length in the leading newspapers. 
A Baptist pastor of Copenhagen told the Friends that the liberty of conscience 
existing in Denmark was largely due to the visit of J. J. Gurney and Elizabeth 
Fry in 1841, and their intercession with the King for some Baptists imprisoned 
for their religion {Life of Charleton, pp. 111-31). 

1 June 23, 1854. 

J Hansard, June 29, 1854. The crkic was Milner Gibson. Some naval 
commanders behaved well. Admirals Napier and Dundas later censured some of 
the wanton destruction and pillage. 


he sometimes replied : * The English who send you the Bible are 
not the same persons as the English who carry on the war.' " l The 
two Friends made careful inquiry into the real needs of the people, 
and after forming a local committee, they returned to lay the matter 
before the Meeting for Sufferings. Nearly 9,000 was raised in 
England, chiefly by Friends, Sturge and his brother opening the fund 
with 1,000. This was expended by the local committee on food, 
clothing, the provision of seed-corn, the replacement of fishing- 
nets, and the like practical help. The Czar sent his personal thanks 
to the Mission, through Baron Nicola y, Secretary to the Embassy 
in London, but it was more grateful to Sturge and Harvey to hear 
from two younger Friends who visited Finland in 1857 that they 
found the feeling among the people much softened. Whittier 
singled out this as one of his friend's most Christlike works in his 
memorial verses on Sturge's death, and in some earlier lines on the 
" Conquest of Finland." 

Out spake the ancient Amtman, 

At the gate of Helsingfors : 
" Why comes this ship a-spying 

In the track of England's wars ? " 

" Each wasted town and hamlet 

She visits to restore ; 
To roof the shattered cabin, 

And feed the starving poor. 

The sunken boats of fishers, 

The foraged beeves and grain, 
The spoil of flake and storehouse 

The good ship brings again. 

And so to Finland's sorrow 

The sweet amend is made. 
As if the healing hand of Christ 

Upon her wounds were laid ! " 

Then said the grey old Amtman, 

" The will of God be done ! 
The battle lost by England's hate 

By England's love is won ! " 

It is not strange that in 1 859 the news of Joseph Sturge's death 
spread sorrow in Finland. In these last three years of life he was 
instrumental in founding the Morning Star as a paper to spread 

1 Life of Sturge, p. 512. 


progressive and pacific views, and in forwarding the return of Bright 
for Birmingham. Lifelong opponent of slavery as he was, he refused 
to join in a remonstrance to the United States in 1857 on the 
ground that to an American such a plea from members of a 
nation engaged in the Chinese War would seem mere hypocrisy 
and cant. His horror at the Indian Mutiny was profound, yet he 
could not regard it as an unprovoked crime. " Had we acted," he 
wrote, " on Christian principles in the Government of India, even 
though we obtained much of it by robbery, the present state of things 
would not have existed, and yet the advocates of war are ready enough 
to ask the friends of peace how they would now get out of a position in 
which they would never have placed themselves." The spirit of the 
knight-errant in forlorn causes still burned in him. He volunteered 
to the Peace Society to lead a mission of inquiry to India, to study 
on the spot the needs of the natives and our future policy. His friends 
felt that for a man of sixty-five, with shaken health, such an enterprise 
was too hazardous, and there was little probability of being allowed 
sufficient freedom of travel and intercourse to make the attempt 

In 1859 he resigned from the Birmingham Chamber of 
Commerce because that body petitioned for the recognition of 
Sir James Brooke's rule in Sarawak by making the country a British 
protectorate. Sturge had denounced the sanguinary wars with Dyaks 
and Chinese by which Brooke won his power, and to him the sugges- 
tion seemed an encouragement of " filibusterism and piracy." He 
died almost without warning in May 1859, three days before the 
Annual Meeting of the Peace Society, of which he was the president. 
At his funeral Birmingham was a city of mourning, the roads 
thronged " in crowds amid the pouring rain " by the working people, 
who knew him for their friend and helper. 

Few Friends had worked more untiringly for peace than Joseph 

Sturge, but his fellow members recognized such work as in harmony 

with the fundamental principles of the Society. Occasionally, indeed, 

some Friend might raise the question whether the peace policy 

was a practicable one, whether any logical limit could be put on the 

exercise of force, or whether a less sweeping condemnation of war 

might not be more effective. 1 

1 See, for example, letters by Dr. Edward Ash in the Friend of 1871-2. 
Dr. Ash had left the Society for a time, but was re-admitted after a short sojourn 
in the Church of England. His views were controverted by Robert Charleton, 
by the Editor of the Friend, and other correspondents. 


But these suggestions met with no acceptance, and whenever 
the official voice of the Society was raised in the nineteenth century 
on this subject, it maintained the old testimony. Instances have 
already been mentioned. The wars in India and China, in the early 
part of the Queen's reign, were wholly repugnant to Friends. The 
Epistle of 1840 contained some very plain words on the unchristian 
policy of Christian nations in the East. This was followed in 1 842 
by a memorial to the Queen, which, admitting the many difficulties 
connected with the administration of the Empire, nevertheless urged 
that the war might be brought to a close. The strained relations 
between England and America over the Oregon boundary question 
in 1845-6 led the Yearly Meeting to a specific recommendation 
of arbitration as a substitute for war. A deputation from the Meeting 
for Sufferings had already, in January, interviewed Peel, the Premier, 
and Aberdeen, the Foreign Secretary. The former " spoke strongly 
of the Earl of Aberdeen's peaceable policy in regard to Europe as 
well as America," and asked whether Friends in the United States 
could not use their influence with their Government. To this the 
deputation replied that they were in correspondence. 1 

In 1 848, " amidst the rumours of wars prevailing around us, 
we continue to feel the value of the testimony which has been given 
us to bear against the use of arms and against all war, defensive as 
well as offensive. But in making this declaration we are not 
unmindful of the difference between bearing this testimony in a 
season of peace and in a time of actual war or civil outbreak ! " 
Four years later the Epistle, in protesting against the Militia Bill, 
reminded Friends of the only sure foundation for their principles. 
" Our testimony against the bearing of arms being grounded upon 
the supreme authority of the Lord Jesus, we have had afresh to 
feel that in maintaining it, our strength and safety consist in drawing 
very near unto Him, and in seeking to live under the government 
of His Spirit." The Crimean War, as already said, found Friends 
as a body united in opposition. " We feel bound explicitly," said 
the Epistle of 1854, "to avow our continued unshaken persuasion 
that all war is utterly incompatible with the plain precepts of our 
Divine Lord and Lawgiver, and with the whole spirit and tenor 
of His Gospel ; and that no plea of necessity or policy, however 

' Vide also Yearly Meeting Epistles, 1834, 1839, 1840, 1847. A deputation 
from the Indiana Meeting for Sufferings memorialized Congress on the matter in 
April 1846. The account of the deputation to Peel is in the Book of Cases, iv. 169. 


urgent or peculiar, can avail to release either individuals or nations 
from the paramount allegiance which they owe unto Him who 
hath said ' Love your enemies.' " In 1856 the Meeting welcomed 
" with reverent thankfulness " the return of peace. The outbreak 
of the Continental war in 1859 was sorrowfully commented on, 
and, while the pacific course of the English Government was grate- 
fully recognized, the Epistle added : 

" We cannot reflect without sorrow upon the contagious 
tendency of war, and upon the symptoms so widely prevalent of 
a spirit prompt both to take and to give offence ; which no 
professions of international amity, however sincere, can counteract. 
If war is to be prevented the spirit from which war proceeds must 
be excluded. As with individuals, so with nations, the beginnings 
of strife must be watchfully guarded against. To give occasions 
of offence or jealousy to the Governments or to the inhabitants of 
other countries, whether by imputing evil motives, by needless 
alarms of invasion, or by anything approaching to a hostile attitude, 
is inconsistent alike with Christian duty and with true patriotism. 
We ought, as Englishmen, to remember that the feelings of our 
neighbours are as sensitive and as much entitled to consideration 
as our own ; and if our words or our actions tend to irritate and 
offend them, we can hardly hope for the continuance of peace." 

A warning to young Friends against joining the Volunteer 
Rifle Clubs (" the object of which is to acquire dexterity and 
certainty in the destruction of human life") implies that some had 
done so and, in fact, the summarized replies to the queries of this 
period mention one or two instances. Friends, however, do not 
seem to have realized at first the significance of the Volunteer move- 
ment and of the suspension of the Militia ballot in keeping the country 
for so many years clear of the tide of Continental militarism. During 
the Civil War the Epistles (as well as those directly addressed to 
American Yearly Meetings) offer deep sympathy to American 
Friends both in the trials of war and " the unfaithfulness of their 
own members." In December 1861, when peace between England 
and America was threatened by the Trent affair, Friends in both 
countries worked hard to maintain good relations, and English 
Friends in 1866, "opposed as we are on Christian grounds both to 
war and slavery," welcomed the United States deliverance from both. 

The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 was perhaps the first to 
cause in the public mind an uneasy feeling that such bloodshed 


and destruction were out of harmony with modern civilization 
and religious thought. The Illustrated London News even expressed 
a pious hope that the military inventions of the day were fast making 
war impossible. 1 But the dreadful effectiveness of the German military 
machine soon aroused an interest in the technical details of military 
operations, and also a certain fear for the safety of England as the 
supposed " preparedness " of France crumbled into ruins. In reference 
to this fear the Friend in September 1870 commented on a " panic " 
leading article in The Times (" we are the only unarmed people in 
the world ") that " the two most prepared nations of Europe are 
now those engaged in the deadliest strife." Early in 1 87 1 the Meeting 
for Sufferings published in the daily press and otherwise circulated 
an earnest " Appeal " to its fellow countrymen to discountenance 
the war spirit in their midst. 

The Society, however, was not content with mere words. 
As news came through of the sufferings and privations of non- 
combatants in the districts over which hostilities had passed, the 
heart of England was stirred to pity. Individual Friends felt the 
call to service. At the end of October 1870 Samuel J. Capper, from 
personal experience in France, endorsed the appeal (in the Daily 
News, October 21st) of the Maires of the Arrondissement of Briey, 
between Metz and Sedan, " not for aid to enable us to destroy life, 
but for aid to maintain human life " in their famine-stricken district. 
In the same (November) issue of the Friend appeared another appeal, 
dated October 27th, and signed by eight Friends attending the 
Social Science Congress at Newcastle, for a fund to be raised by 
Friends and expended under the care of the Meeting for Sufferings 
for the benefit of the victims of the war. These appeals were the 
starting-point of the two funds, the " Daily News Fund " and the 
" Friends' War Victims Relief Fund," which in the next nine 
months brought untold comfort to these unhappy people. The 
Meeting for Sufferings took up the " concern," issuing an appeal of 
its own and appointing a committee which included John Bright and 
other Quaker members of Parliament, to arrange for the raising and 
distribution of the Relief Fund. The final Report on the adminis- 
tration of the fund accounted for its expenditure as follows 2 : 

1 " The war just commenced so recklessly will, perhaps, make a large contribu- 
tion towards permanent peace by showing that in these latter days it can only 
be prosecuted under conditions too horrible, both in their certainty and in their 
severity, for men to accept. This is the only solace we can discover in it namely, 
a possibility that war may die by its own hands" (July 23, 1870). 

J Rapport de la Repartition des Secours, by James Long, M.A. 


Relief to Agriculturists. 

Seed corn of various kinds ... ... ... 2,611,630 

Agricultural implements ... ... ... ... 82,947 

Cattle ... ... ... ... ... ... 102,000 

Relief to the Poor. 
Houses and furniture ... ... ... ... 13,750 

Food, medicine, and fuel ... ... ... ... 257,250 

Organization of the work for the unemployed, 

wages, etc. ... ... ... ... ... 50,525 

Gifts in Money. 
To various localities ... ... ... ... 167,625 

To 69 Communes round Paris ... ... ... 536,375 

This relief at the current exchange in France at the time 
amounted to 4,055,071 francs, or about 162,000, and there were 
in addition large gifts of clothing. The fund was greatly helped by 
sympathizers outside the Society : as the need grew, public meetings 
were held on its behalf in many towns. About forty workers, nearly 
all Friends, were engaged for a whole or part of the period in 
organizing the relief in France, besides a number occupied at the 
London Office. 1 

1 The names of the workers in France were : Henry J. Allen, William Jones 
(later Secretary of the Peace Society), Thomas Whitwell, Robert Spence Watson 
(President of the National Liberal Federation 1890-1902), Eliot Howard, William 
Pumphrey, Daniel Hack, John Bellows, Elizabeth Ann Barclay, J. Augusta 
Fry, Richenda E. Reynolds, Amelia de Bunsen, Samuel Gurney, John Henry 
Gurney, Junior, Charles Elcock, Henry Tuke Mennell, Theodore Nield, John 
Dunning, Joseph Smith, Thomas Snowdon, Thomas D. Nicholson, Samuel J. 
Capper, Charles Wing Gray, Joseph Crosfield, Edmund Pace, William Beck, 
William B. Norcott, Walter Rigley, Ellen Jackson, Ernest Beck, William Dyne, 
James Hack Tuke (worker in the Irish Famine), James Long, John Burnett Taylor, 
Arthur Albright, Wilson Sturge, J. Fyfe Stewart. Many accounts of the work 
have been published. Besides the official Rapport presented to the French Govern- 
ment, mentioned above, reference may be made to the privately printed Reports 
of the Committee, to the Report to the Yearly Meeting [Proceedings of the 
Yearly Meeting, 1871), articles by Henry Tuke Mennell in the Friend, 
January-September 1871, three contemporary publications by relief workers ; 
S. J. Capper, Wanderings in War Time ; Spence Watson, The Villages round Metz ; 
John Bellows, The Track of the War round Metz, ; also William Jones, Quaker Cam- 
paigns in Peace and War, 1899, and P. Corder, Life of Robert Spence-Watson, 
ch. iv ; also reminiscences in the Friends' Quarterly Examiner by two of the 
workers (Eliot Howard in 191 3 and H. T. Mennell in 1915). The official cer- 
tificate, granted as credentials to each worker on behalf of the Yearly Meeting, 
described Friends as believing " all war to be contrary to the will and spirit of our 
Heavenly Father as shown in the New Testament, but moved by Christian love 
we desire to alleviate, as far as may be in our power, the misery of non-combatants 
irrespective of nationalities remembering that all are children of one Father, and 
that one Saviour died for all." 


The first two workers, William Jones and Henry J. Allen, 
on their way to investigate the conditions in the devastated area, 
were advised by the British Minister at Brussels to adopt some 
distinguishing device other than the Red Cross brassard, which had 
for the moment been discredited by unauthorized use. Their choice 
fell upon a red and black star, which, as badge and brassard, has 
ever since been the device of the Friends' War Victims Relief organiza- 
tions in different wars, and has become known in many scenes of 

The scope of the work may be gathered from the financial 

statement already quoted, and it has been described at length in the 

books and papers mentioned in the note on the preceding page. 

At first, in its strict neutrality, the Committee offered relief to the 

German villages in the Saar Valley, which had suffered severely 

from the passage and quartering of troops, and to some extent from 

actual hostilities. The offer, however, was politely declined by the 

authorities, and the Commissioners found from a visit that German 

organizations had supplied all the help required. The case of France 

was, of course, far otherwise. An arrangement was made with the 

Daily News and other relief funds by which overlapping was as 

far as possible avoided, and the Commissioners started work in the 

wide district round Metz, which had been the scene of some of the 

bloodiest battles of the opening campaign, had supported vast hordes 

of the soldiers of both armies, and much of which, after the fall of 

Metz, was administered by the Germans as a conquered province. 

Here, in many cases, the villages had been dependent upon their 

conquerors for food, and when the army moved on, they were left 

utterly destitute. To these unhappy people the Friends brought 

regular supplies of food, medical treatment, and supplies, fuel for the 

winter, and later on what was almost more valuable as a provision 

of present work, hope for the future, and the means of life ample 

stocks of seed-corn and the steam ploughs with which to prepare 

the ground. In the early spring, when the Loire district was clear 

of the contending armies, work was begun there. There the long 

hostilities had resulted in the almost entire destruction of crops 

and farm stock. The chief work of the Friends was the provision 

of seed-corn and milch-cattle. Of the latter, several hundred of 

good quality with bulls, calves, and goats were purchased by James 

Long in Spain, and apportioned among the various Communes, 

the authorities of which agreed to maintain in perpetuity cattle, 


to the number granted, for the benefit of the inhabitants. These 
" Quakers " (as the cattle were branded) supplied an urgent need. 1 
As soon as the armistice was signed and it was possible to reach Paris, 
a deputation proceeded thither to investigate the needs of the sur- 
rounding district. After conferences with the local authorities 
and the representatives of other relief societies, it was arranged that 
the whole of the relief in the Department of the Seine, outside Paris 
and St. Denis, should be undertaken by the Friends. The district 
and its needs was thus described by one of the investigators : 

" The Department forms a narrow belt or girdle round Paris 
varying in width from two to six miles. It embraces all the district 
which has been actually desolated by the operations of the siege, 
and its condition is a most deplorable one. The suburban district 
immediately outside the walls of Paris has not greatly suffered by 
actual bombardment ; but the inhabitants having been compelled to 
leave it during the siege, it has been occupied by the French Mobiles, 
who have completely wrecked it, tearing up the floors and all the 
woodwork of the houses for firewood, and inflicting every possible 
injury and damage upon it. Outside this belt are the villages 
occupied by the advanced posts of either army, and the space between 
them, which was untenable by either. In this zone there is nothing 
but ruin and desolation ; a sadder scene of destruction it is impossible 
to imagine. Outside this belt are the villages held by the Prussian 
Army, which have suffered severely and are greatly injured, but not 
to the same extent as those which I have described." 2 

On March 3rd, the day of the Prussian occupation of Paris, 
three Friends, Joseph Crosfield, Robert Spence Watson, and Ernest 
Beck, left London to administer the relief, joining W. B. Norcott, 
who had remained in Paris to secure offices and make preliminary 
arrangements. By these friends and others who followed them 
(including James Hack Tuke, who brought with him the experience 
gained in the Irish Famine), the sum of 20,000, a quantity of 
clothing, and a grant of 1,000 of vegetable seeds from the 
Mansion House Fund, were distributed among 62 Communes 
containing about 300,000 inhabitants. Yet the Committee, in 
reporting this relief to the Yearly Meeting, spoke of it as but " a 
drop in the bucket," in comparison with the immense losses of the 

1 Friend, February 1871. 

Ibid., March 1871 (H. T. Mennell). 


The work in all the districts was carried on at no inconsiderable 
risk to the Commissioners. More than one, on leaving England, 
was told by men just returned from the scene of hostilities that 
nothing could be done in regions infested with francs-tireurs and 
robbers without the protection of pistols. Yet no Friend travelled 
armed. At first they were constantly suspected of being French 
or German spies, and had uncomfortable experiences in consequence, 
but they soon won the confidence of the authorities on both sides. 
Round Metz their greatest enemy was the pestilential air from 
the battle-fields. Here many workers were laid aside by illness. 
Five suffered from small-pox, of whom one, Ellen Allen, died. 

In Paris those workers who remained until the outbreak of the 
Communists also suffered considerable risk. Indeed, the mere routine 
work of investigation and relief in a devastated country under military 
occupation in mid-winter was no light or easy task. From both 
Government and people there was a warm expression of gratitude : 
decorations were pressed on individual Friends, which they steadily 
refused. Finally the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce sent 
the following letter, in November 1871, to the official representatives 
of the Society of Friends : 

"Je suis autorise par Monsieur le President de la Republique 
et par la Conseil des Ministres, a transmettre a la Societe Anglaise 
des Amis l'expression des sentiments du peuple et du Gouvernement 
Francais. Puisse le souvenir de notre profonde reconnaisance vivre 
chez vous aussi longtemps que vivra chez nous le souvenir de vos 
genereux efforts." 1 

At the close of the war some other Friends engaged earnestly 

in Christian mission work in Paris and other parts of France. This 

led to the establishment of a mission for women and girls under 

Justine Dalencourt, a French Catholic who had been brought into 

touch with Friends while a refugee in London and later joined the 

Society. She is still continuing her work. The miseries they saw 

burnt in upon many of the workers a personal and intimate horror 

of war and its accompaniments. " How the remembrance " (wrote 

William Jones of the villages round Metz) " of homes like this in 

which happiness will never again be known on this side of the grave 

1 Quoted by William Jones, Quaker Campaigns, p. 83. The Society was also 
gratefully mentioned in the Journal Officiel of the French Republic, and the Journal 
Mensuel of the Society of Agriculture. In 1873 Robert Spence Watson was 
unexpectedly presented by the French Government with a gold medal specially 
struck in recognition of his " eminent services." 


crowds on the mind, and utterly tarnishes and blots out all that men 
call glory in successful war, and leaves behind nought but its cold 
reality in the unspeakable misery and sorrow of its wretched victims." 1 

In a similar strain Spence Watson wrote home : 

" I wish I could tell you how I loathe this war. It is too horrible. 
The misery which it brings with it is altogether incredible. I begin 
now to dream of it all night, for it has become a terrible reality. 
Bad I always thought it, but I never dreamed that it could be so bad. 
I am glad I have seen what I have ; it is a great lesson, and I wish 
all the editors in England could just see Bazaine's army ; we should 
hear less of the glory of war for some years to come." 2 

In 1876 two of the Commissioners, James Long and William 
Jones, were sent out again by Friends to distribute relief, this time 
to Bulgaria and Macedonia, to the scenes of the atrocious massacres 
and cruelties which led to the intervention of Russia and the libera- 
tion of so much of the Balkans from the Turkish yoke. In 1892 
other Friends, one of them, John Bellows, also a former Commissioner, 
devoted themselves to the relief of the famine-stricken districts of 
Russia, distributing a fund of 40,000. At the end of the century 
Russia again claimed their interest. The accounts of the persecuted 
Doukhobors brought to England by Tolstoyans perhaps over- 
emphasized that sect's points of resemblance to Friends ; the latter, 
however, particularly interested by the Doukhobors' refusal of 
military service, took up their cause warmly. It was largely through 
the financial help and organization of a Committee of Friends, that 
seven thousand of the sect were transported to Canada in the autumn 
of 1899 ; and other Friends, particularly women teachers, helped 
them through the first difficulties of their settlement in communal 
villages there. 3 

The Czar's call of the Governments of the civilized world to 
a Hague Conference to consider the reduction of armaments and 
the establishment of an International Court of Arbitration, was 
warmly welcomed by Friends. The Yearly Meeting of 1899 sent 
a deputation to The Hague with a message of congratulation and 

1 William Jones, Quaker Campaigns, etc., p. 93. 

Corder, Life of Spence Watson, p. 104, quoted from The Villages around 

3 The Committee at first hoped to settle the Doukhobors in Cyprus, but the 
island proved an unsuitable home, and the thousand who reached it eventually 
were removed to Canada. Vide Aylmer Maude, A Peculiar People The 


prayerful good wishes to the various Ambassadors assembled there. 
But soon these hopes of a brighter dawn for the coming century 
were overshadowed by the Transvaal War. 

Apart from these activities, the last thirty years of the nineteenth 
century were not marked by any new departure in the peace work 
of the Society, unless the revival of the National Peace Congress 
as an annual event, in which many Friends assisted, may be thus 
described. In 1877 and again in 1885 the Yearly Meeting Epistle 
expressed the thankfulness of Friends that threatened wars between 
England and Russia had been averted, and in 1884 it recorded their 
" sorrow and distress at the bloodshed which has taken place in 
Egypt and the Soudan in the course of the last two years." When 
in 1897 English sympathizers began to work for the relief and 
protection of the Armenians, Friends joined heartily in the effort, 
in which they continue to take an active part. But the Epistle of 
that year rejected the plea that war in this case was the only remedy. 
" Our sympathy with the persecuted and oppressed in Armenia, 
Crete, and elsewhere, does not lessen our conviction that even on 
their behalf it is wrong to take the sword, and that all war, defensive 
as well as offensive, is incompatible with true loyalty to the Prince 
of Peace." Such a declaration might seem to be an easy one, made 
at the expense of others, but as the nineteenth century closed, it was 
repeated in the midst of a war in which England was involved. 
" We fail to see " (was the declaration of the Yearly Meeting of 
1900) "how any war can be waged in the Spirit of Jesus Christ." 


We feel that Mr. Bright is entitled to a higher eulogy than any that could 
be due to intellect or any that could be due to success. Of mere success 
he was indeed a conspicuous example ; in intellect he may lay claim to a 
most distinguished place ; but the character of the man lay deeper than 
his intellect, deeper than his eloquence, deeper than anything that can be 
described or seen on the surface, and the supreme eulogy which is his due 
I apprehend to be this, that he elevated political life to a higher elevation 
and a loftier standard, and that he has thereby bequeathed to his country 
the character of a statesman which can be made the subject not only of 
admiration and not only of gratitude, but of reverential contemplation. 
Mr. Gladstone in the House of Commons, March 29, 1889. 

After the year 1756, when the Quaker deputies retired from the 
Assembly of Pennsylvania, for almost a century the Society of Friends 
had little representation in the political world. It is true that the 
agitation against the slave trade, both in England and America, 
originated among the Quakers, but their interest in it was primarily 
philanthropic, and the actual political leadership of the movement 
was in other hands. William Penn and John Bright the list of 
Quaker statesmen is short but noteworthy. Of the two it is the 
modern Friend for whom the higher place must be claimed, on the 
ground of a complete and consistent life. He was not like Penn, 
the ruler of a great territory or the adviser of a king, but his empire 
was in the hearts of the working people, and his highest reward 
was their unbounded trust in him. Palmerston could say, during 
the Crimean War fever, that he did not " reckon Cobden, Bright 
and Co. for anything," and in 1859 the Queen refused a suggestion 
that Bright should be given a Privy Councillorship on the ground 
that " it would be impossible to allege any service Mr. Bright has 
rendered " this fourteen years after the Repeal of the Corn Laws ! 
Yet in the Home Rule crisis of 18867 n * s influence, more even 

18 273 


than his arguments, told heavily against the Government. " Every 
word," wrote Lord Morley, "seemed to weigh a pound." 1 

This is not the place in which to sketch once more Blight's 
career, the touching and romantic comradeship with Cobden in 
so many righteous causes, the struggle for the enfranchisement 
of the people, the attacks on privilege and tyranny. But his work 
for peace was so much a part of his life that biographical detail will 
occasionally be necessary. First, it may be well to clear up a 
misunderstanding. It has been hinted by some that although Bright 
was a Quaker by birth and upbringing, he was not in full sympathy 
with the views of Friends. Nothing could be less true. Throughout 
his life he faithfully attended Friends' Meetings for worship, and 
took at times an active part in their Meetings for business. His 
household worship of " reading " and " silence " impressed Lord 
Morley with its purity and fervour. Yet Bright felt himself a lack 
of power to give public utterance to his deepest spiritual experience. 
In 1875, at the age of sixty-four, he refused to take up the office of 
Elder, on these grounds : " The labours of my life have taken me out 
of the way of service for our little Church, and have, to a large extent, 
unfitted me for it. I feel that there is nothing above the humblest 
office shall I say that of doorkeeper ? which I could properly 
undertake. ... I feel humbled by the proposition made to me, 
and that I am so far from the state in which it would or might seem 
possible for me to consider it." 2 

" He always remained a Friend both in his heart and in his life," 
writes Mr. Trevelyan,3 basing his verdict on the testimony of those 
nearest to Bright. Yet it is true that at the opening of his political 
career he was regarded with some distrust by elderly and conservative 
Friends, who, influenced by a tradition from the old days of revolu- 
tion and conspiracy in which the Society suffered unjust persecution, 
shrank from any form of political activity. Mrs. Boyce, in Records 
of a Quaker Family,* describes how Bright's defence of himself and 
the Anti-Corn Law League from a veiled censure in the Yearly 
Meeting of 1 843 was rewarded by " a slight tapping noise " from 
those quiet benches as he resumed his seat. Surely this gentle applause, 

1 Morley, Life of Gladstone, ii. 582. 

* No doubt Bright's words carry an allusion to Psalm Ixxxiv, but in the 
larger Friends' Meetings there are actual " doorkeepers." 

3 Life of John Bright, p. 414. 

4 The Richardsons of Cleveland. 


against all Quaker precedent, was the greatest triumph of John 
Bright's golden oratory. 

Of late years, when the great peace advocate is no longer here 
to answer for himself, some critics have gone further and have tried 
to prove that his opposition to war would have given way before the 
circumstances of some particular war (waged since his death), and 
that he would have supported and approved the arbitrament of force 
in such a case. In this argument they rely on the admitted fact that 
Bright carefully and explicitly met the advocates of each war on 
their own ground, and showed that even on their principles it was 
to be condemned. As was said once, he always argued the question 
on a Blue-book basis. 1 In two instances, as will be seen, he admitted 
that on those principles one party to the struggle was justified in 
meeting war by war, but even so he was unsparing in his condemna- 
tion of the crimes and errors which had plunged the combatants 
into so terrible a catastrophe. 

However honestly he believed that his opposition was confined 
to the cricumstances of each case, there is scarcely a speech in which 
his personal abhorrence to war is not manifest, and more than once 
he alludes specifically to the principles of Friends. For example, 
at a Peace Conference in Manchester in the year 1853, in a remark- 
able passage, he distinguished his personal convictions upon war 
from the arguments, political and economic, which he employed in 
public controversy. 

" I shall not read the Sermon on the Mount to men who do 
not acknowledge its authority, nor shall I insist on my reading of 
the New Testament to men who take a different view of it ; nor 
shall I ask the members of a Church whose Articles especially justify 
the bearing of arms to join in any movement which shall be founded 
upon what are called abstract Christian peace doctrines. But I will 
argue this question on the ground which our opponents admit, which 
not professing Christians only, but Mahomedans and heathen and 
every man of intelligence and common sense and common 
humanity will admit. I will argue it upon this ground, that war 
is probably the greatest of all human calamities." 3 

Again, in his great speech in the House of Commons on the 
declaration of war against Russia (March 31, 1854) he declines 
to discuss the war, " on the abstract principle of peace at any price, 

1 Friend, 1889, p. 101. 

* Report of Conference in the Herald of Peace, February 1853, p. 182, 


as it is termed, which is held by a small minority of persons in this 
country, founded on religious opinions which are not generally 
received." Many years later, at Manchester (October 2, 1876), 
he definitely attributed his opposition to the Crimean War to his 
Quaker upbringing. 

" I do not know why I differed from other people so much, 
but sometimes I have thought it happened from the education I 
had received in the religious sect with which I am connected. We 
have no creed which monarchs and statesmen and high priests have 
written out for us. Our creed, so far as we comprehend it, comes 
pure and direct from the New Testament. We have no 37th Article 
to declare that it is lawful for Christian men, at the command of 
the civil magistrate, to wear weapons and to serve in wars which 
means, of course, and was intended to mean, that it is lawful for 
Christian men to engage in any part of the world, in any cause, 
at the command of a monarch, or of a prime minister, or of a 
Parliament, or of a commander-in-chief, in the slaughter of his 
fellow-men, whom he might never have seen before and from whom 
he had not received the smallest injury, and against whom he had 
no reason to feel the smallest touch of anger or resentment. Now, 
my having been brought up as I was would lead me naturally to 
think that . . . the war with Russia in the Crimea was a matter 
that required very distinct evidence to show that it was lawful, or 
that it was in any way politic or reasonable." 

In the great speech for peace at Edinburgh, in October 1853, 
Bright defined war in no uncertain terms. 

" What is war ? I believe that half the people that talk about 
war have not the slightest idea of what it is. In a short sentence 
it may be summed up to be the combination and concentration of 
all the horrors, 'crimes, and sufferings of which human nature is 

In 1879 a Mr. Urquhart of Manchester was moved by Bright's 
strenuous opposition to the war policy of the Conservative Govern- 
ment to write to him with the question whether he was prepared 
to condemn all war and abolish all means of military defence. Bright 
made the following reply * : 

" I have not time to write fully upon the question. It is one 
on which men should make up their minds as to their own personal 
duty. So far men have defended war as if it were a natural condition 

1 Public Letters, p. 238. 


of things which must always continue. It might be true that war 
could not always be avoided, and that in some cases it might be 
justifiable, and yet, granting this, it might be shown that nineteen 
out of every twenty wars which have been waged ought to have been 
avoided, and were criminal in the highest degree. I believe that 
all our wars since the time and accession of William III might have 
been avoided on principles which do not require the absolute 
condemnation of war in every possible case that may be suggested 
or imagined. We need not discuss the question as you put it. We 
shall change the policy and the aspect of our country and of the 
world, if we leave the demon of war to the cases in which there 
seems to Christian and rational men no escape from the miseries 
he inflicts upon mankind. I would advise you not to trouble yourself 
with the abstract question. The practical question is the one which 
presses, and when we have settled that, there will remain very little 
of the mischief to contend about or to get rid of. If you wish to 
know the best argument against war, I would recommend you 
to read Jonathan Dymond's Essays on the Principles of Morality, 
or his Essay on War.'''' 

The recommendation of Dymond's uncompromisingly Quaker 
Essay shows plainly where Bright's own opinion rested, in spite of 
the careful phrasing of the letter. 1 A few months before, at Man- 
chester, 2 he had described the essentially unchristian character of 
war in language which may have inspired Mr. Urquhart's question. 

"We may differ upon many points of Articles in Churches, 
but we are all agreed on this : that if there be anything definite 

1 In 1885 Bright contributed a short introduction to Dymond's Essay, which 
included some of the strongest phrases from his own utterances. " I think (he 
wrote) every man must make up his own mind on that abstract [Quaker] principle, 
and I would recommend him, if he wants to know a book that says a good deal 
about it, to study the New Testament, and make up his mind from that source. 
... If we may presume to ask ourselves what, in the eye of the Supreme Ruler, 
is the greatest crime which His creatures commit, I think we may almost with 
certainty conclude that it is the crime of war." The one specific case in which 
Bright thought arbitration impossible was that of the issue between the Turkish 
Government of 1876 and its persecuted Christian dependencies (speech at 
Birmingham, December 4, 1876). 

" I do not in any case, as you know, stand forward as a defender of those 
sanguinary struggles which continually or at times take place among the nations ; 
but I know not how in some cases they are to be avoided. There can be no arbitra- 
tion unless the parties to the dispute are willing. There can be no arbitration 
between a Government such as that which reigns at Constantinople and the suffering 
peoples of whom we have lately heard so much." 

2 April 30, 1878, Robertson, Life of John Bright, ii. 201. 


and distinct in the teachings of the New Testament, it is that which 
would lead to amity among people and to love and justice and mercy 
and peace on the whole of God's earth upon which His sun shines. 
If then we are agreed upon this, let us, if it be possible to throw off 
the hypocrite in this matter let us get rid of our Christianity, or 
get rid of our tendency and willingness to go to war. War is a game 
which, if their subjects were wise, kings would not be able to play 
at ; and be they kings or queens, be they statesmen of this or that 
colour or party, never let any man go headlong into any policy that 
points direct for war until he has thoroughly examined the question 
by his own best intellect, brought it to bear on his own Christian 
conscience, and decided it for himself as if he were asked to pull 
the trigger or to use the sword." 

Such was the careful and considered language of John Bright, 
both in the maturity of his political life and in later years. It is 
impossible to resist the conclusion that his opponents were right 
in their belief that his opposition to war was primarily based on moral 
and religious convictions, though they were wholly wrong in seizing 
upon this fact as an excuse for neglecting the weighty political 
arguments which he marshalled against each war or project of war 
in its turn. 

A brief account of these particular episodes must complete this 
study of Bright as a man of peace. He won his spurs as an orator 
in scenes which fitly illustrate the favourite thesis of Friends, that 
peace is an active virtue different in quality from the passiveness 
of non-resistance, and that wrong may be effectively resisted without 
resort to physical force. The struggle against Church rates in 
Rochdale was only the preliminary to the greater struggle against 
the Corn Laws. And it must not be forgotten that both in the Corn 
Law agitation and in the longer agitation, not yet ended, for reform 
of the franchise and the land laws, Bright was attacking evils which 
he believed in each case to be largely the result of our last great 
Continental war. 

" The knowledge of what that war had meant to the mass of 
the people while it lasted, and the legacy of misery and degradation 
that it left behind, was burnt into the soul of Bright, and reinforced 
by its modern example the faith of his peace-loving forefathers. 
His view of the unnecessary character of the war begun in 1793 
may be wrong or it may be right ; but his grasp on the fact that 
war, though sometimes sport to the rich, is always death to the 


poor, was to stand England in good stead in coming years." 1 The 
repeal of the Corn Laws and the introduction of Free Trade was 
at once the triumph and the justification of the peaceful agitation 
of the League with its weapons of argument and persuasion. Later 
generations have forgotten the strong tide of discontent and disorder 
which surged through the working classes during the thirty years 
of misery and hunger after Waterloo, finding vent in the abortive 
Chartist Movement and in many serious local riots. It was the 
considered judgment of careful observers that England's immunity 
from the revolutionary upheaval which shook down the continental 
thrones in the year 1848 was very largely due to the improvement 
in the condition and temper of the people brought about by Free 

The next campaign of Bright and Cobden was one in which, in- 
stead of acting as the leaders of strong and enthusiastic forces, they 
were more and more isolated in what was, at the time, a losing battle. 
It was no thanks to Palmerston that England was not continuously 
at war during the two decades before his death in 1865. In his 
spirited foreign policy he employed a dual method, treating all 
strong Powers as our natural enemies, to be met by large armaments 
and bullying diplomacy, and the weaker Powers as our natural 
inferiors, to be reformed and scolded and generally set in their proper 
places. This intervention and admonition was often on behalf of 
the oppressed (although they seldom gained much benefit from 
their champion), but sometimes, as in the famous case of Don Pacifico 
and the mischievous Chinese War of 1857, for less worthy objects. 

In the great Don Pacifico debate of June 1850 Bright did not 
speak, giving way to Cobden, but he had to defend even his vote 
against a nominally Liberal and really Whig Government to his 
Manchester constituents, which he did on the grounds that 
Palmerston's policy " necessarily leads to irritation, and to quarrels 
with other nations, and may lead even to war ; and that it involves 
the necessity of maintaining greater armaments and a heavier 
taxation." 2 Next year, when Kossuth visited England, Bright, 
while joining warmly in the popular welcome, made clear his distrust 
of any movement for intervention abroad. He wrote to Cobden 
(November 4, 1851) : "I am expected to be at the meeting 
in the Free Trade Hall [Manchester] and to speak. I am in a 
desperate puzzle what to do, but certainly if I speak I shall go against 

Trevelyan, Life, p. 47. Trevelyan, Life, p. 192. 


any notion of fighting for Hungary or any other country. ... I 
am very apprehensive that this Hungarian sympathy will breed 
a spirit which we have hoped was subsiding, and will tend to fill 
the people's heart with pride and self-conceit, and with a notion 
that it is our mission to become knight-errants in the cause of freedom 
to other nations, whilst we are forgetting how much we have to 
do at home." In his speech (November 1 1, 1851) he emphasized 
the moral force of public opinion as opposed to the material pressure 
of armaments. " There are men who say : * Why, what is the use 
of your sympathy if you have no regiments and no ships ? Well, 
I shall take another line of argument, and ask you whether there 
be any force in opinion, in opinion acting upon the nation. Why, 
let me ask you where are you assembled ? Recollect when this hall 
was built, recollect by whom it was built, recollect from this platform 
and this hall went forth the voices which generated opinion in 
England, which concentrated it, which gathered it little by little, 
until it became a power before which huge majorities in both Houses 
of Parliament became impotent minorities and the most august 
and powerful aristocracy of the world had to succumb, and finally, 
through that opinion we struck down for ever the most gigantic 
tyranny that was ever practised." 1 

But the star of Lord Palmerston was in the ascendant. In 
1852, dismissed from office by the influence of the Court, he 
regained power by the defeat of Lord John Russell's Militia Bill, 
and at the beginning of 1853 there broke out one of those mysterious 
" panics " or agitations for larger armaments which attack the 
political world with, apparently, the same periodicity as those which 
shake the financial world. An ill-defined distrust of Napoleon III, 
which Palmerston shared with a large number of his countrymen, 
blossomed, under careful nurture by Press and politicians, into a 
full-blown " invasion " panic. Cobden and Bright used all the 
resources of eloquence and satire to show the baseless nature of 
such fears, and Bright described the disastrous results of a war between 
two great and civilized nations, undeterred by the readiness of his 
enemies to declare that he judged all things by the touchstone of 
commercial interest. 

" I draw no picture," he said, 2 " of blood and crime, of battles 
by sea and land ; they are common to every war, and nature 

1 Robertson, Life, ii. 10, 11. 

z Manchester, January 27, 1853, Robertson, ii. 14. 


shudders at the enormities of man ; but I see before me a vast 
commerce collapsed, a mighty industry paralysed, and a people 
impoverished and exhausted, with ever-increasing burdens and a 
gathering discontent." 

In the autumn he repeated the picture : " War will brutalize 
our people, increase our taxes, destroy our industry, postpone the 
promised Parliamentary reform, it may be many years." 1 But the 
threatened war of October 1853 was not the threatened war of the 
previous January. France was no longer the enemy waiting to 
invade our coasts, but the ally with whom we were to rescue the 
helpless Turk from Russian intrigue. At Edinburgh in that month 
a Peace Congress was held at which Admiral Sir Charles Napier 
vigorously expressed the views of the war party. Bright's reply 
has become a classic, which may be read with profit to-day. In it 
he alluded to the objection that the time was inopportune to speak 
of peace. 

"The right time to oppose the errors and prejudices of the 
people never comes in the eyes of those writers in the public Press 
who pander to those prejudices. They say : ' We must not do so-and- 
so, we shall embarrass the Government.' . . . We wish to protest 
against the maintenance of great armaments in time of peace. We 
wish to protest against the spirit which is not only willing for war, 
but eager for war ; and we wish to protest, with all the emphasis 
of which we are capable, against the mischievous policy pursued 
so long by this country of interfering with the internal affairs of 
other countries, and thereby leading to disputes, and often to 
disastrous wars." 

The peroration of the speech was an appeal to the moral sense 
of his countrymen. 

"... You profess to be a Christian nation. You make it 
your boast even though boasting is somewhat out of place in such 
questions you make it your boast that you are a Protestant people, 
and that you draw your rule of doctrine and practice as from a 
well pure and undefiled, from the living oracles of God and from the 
direct revelation of the Omnipotent. . . . 

" Is this a reality ? or is your Christianity a romance ? is your 
profession a dream ? No, I am sure that your Christianity is not 
a romance, and I am equally sure that your profession is not a 

1 Letter to a public meeting at the Manchester Athenaeum, October 6, 1853, 
Robertson, ii. 27. 


dream. It is because I believe this that I appeal to you with 
confidence and that I have hope and faith in the future. I believe 
that we shall see, and at no very distant time, sound economic 
principles spreading much more widely amongst the people ; a sense 
of justice growing up in a soil which hitherto has been deemed 
unfruitful ; and which will be better than all the Churches of 
the United Kingdom the Churches of Britain awaking, as it 
were, from their slumbers, and girding their loins to more glorious 
work, when they shall not only accept and believe in the prophecy, 
but labour earnestly for its fulfilment, that there shall come a 
time a blessed time a time that shall last for ever when ' nation 
shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war 
any more.' " 

The hope at the moment was doomed to disappointment, for 
the Churches gave no help to the small, but weighty minority 
which opposed the Crimean War. 1 Bright and Cobden were left 
almost alone, branded as traitors and refused a hearing in the country, 
though never in the House of Commons. The eloquence of Bright's 
speeches and letters upon the war was even then frankly admitted, 
and few are now prepared to controvert his arguments, but eloquence 
and reason could not save him from execration and defeat. As Mr. 
Gladstone 2 finely said of him, at that crisis he laid his popularity 
as a sacrifice upon the altar of his duty. The chapters upon the 
war in Mr. Trevelyan's Life deal fully with the political side of 
his opposition. Here there is only space for some quotations which 

1 Years later (Birmingham, January 13, 1878), Bright diagnosed the war- 
fever of the nation. "At that time the public mind was filled with falsehoods, 
and it was in a state which we might describe by saying that it became almost 
drunk with passion. With regard to Russia, you recollect, many of you, what 
was said of her power, of her designs, of the despotism which ruled in Russia, 
of the danger which hung over all the freedom of all the countries of Europe. 
And the error was not confined to a particular class. It spread from the cottage 
to all classes above, and it did not even spare those who were within the precincts 
of the throne. It was not adopted by the clergy of the Church of England only, 
but by the ministers of the Nonconformist bodies also. The poison had spread 
everywhere. The delusion was all-pervading. The mischief seemed universal, 
and, as I know to my cost, it was scarcely worth while to utter an argument 
or bring forth a fact against it." Many, of course, recognized the folly and futility 
of the war, but had not the courage to be unpopular. Walter, proprietor of 
The Times, said to Bright : " When the country would go to war, it was not worth 
while to oppose it, hurting themselves, and doing no good." Sir James Graham 
said in later years : " You were entirely right about the Crimean War ; we were 
entirely wrong." 

3 At Birmingham, June 1, 1877. 


characteristically reveal the moral impulse which urged him to 
that opposition. It is true that, as Mr. Trevelyan says, Bright 
definitely claimed to oppose the war as " contrary to the national 
interests and the principles professed and avowed by the nation, 
and on no other ground," 1 but it is equally true that his opponents 
disregarded the claim, and branded him as a " peace-at-any-price " 
man. Their policy was unfair in itself, and cowardly, inasmuch 
as on this plea they escaped the necessity of answering his unanswer- 
able attacks, but their instinctive feeling that whole moral continents 
divided his view of any war from theirs was well founded. Even 
Palmerston's ill-bred taunt to " the honourable and reverend 
gentleman " serves to remind us of the moral indignation which 
linked Bright's speeches with the utterances of the Hebrew prophets. 
As Dr. Johnson's old friend confided to him that he had tried in his 
time to be a philosopher, but " cheerfulness was always breaking 
in," so we may say of Bright's speeches that he tried to be a poli- 
tician, but Christianity was always breaking in. In the very speech 
(March 31, 1854) in which he claimed to discuss the war on ad- 
mitted principles of English policy are two passages which reveal the 
distance which separated him from many of his countrymen. He had 
sympathy, he said, for the oppressed everywhere, " but it is not on 
a question of sympathy that I dare involve this country, or any country, 
in a war which must cost an incalculable amount of treasure and of 
blood. It is not my duty to make this country the knight-errant 
of the human race." And, as was his wont, he translated the cost of 
war into terms of individual and national happiness a calculation 
which, half a century later, would have drawn upon him the name 
of " Little Englander." 

"... I believe if this country, seventy years ago, had adopted the 
principle of non-intervention in every case where her interests were 
not directly and obviously assailed, that she would have been saved 
from much of the pauperism and brutal crimes by which our Govern- 
ment and people have alike been disgraced. This country might 
have been a garden, every dwelling might have been of marble, 
and every person who treads its soil might have been sufficiently 
educated. We should, indeed, have had less of military glory. We 
might have had neither Trafalgar nor Waterloo ; but we should 
have set the high example of a Christian nation, free in its institutions, 
courteous and just in its policy towards all foreign States, and 

1 Letter to Joseph Sturge, September 1857. 


resting its policy on the unchangeable foundation of Christian 

The famous peroration of December 22, 1854, opening : 
" I am not, nor did I ever pretend, to be a statesman," closes with 
the hope of maintaining " to the last moment of my existence the 
priceless consolation that no word of mine has tended to promote 
the squandering of my country's treasure, or the spilling of one 
single drop of my country's blood." Palmerston and his followers 
were ready enough to label such an aspiration as " peace-at-any- 
price." Part of the price of war Bright described in his grave rebuke 
to Palmerston in debate on the Vote of Censure in July 1855 : 
" The noble Lord seems to me to be insensible to the fact that 
clouds are gathering round the horizon of this country ; he appears 
not to know that his policy is the doom of death to thousands upon 
thousands, carrying desolation to millions of hearts. He may perchance 
never see that which comes often to my vision the interminable 
ghastly procession of our slaughtered countrymen, to which every 
day fresh lists of victims are added." 

It was this sense of the desolation and destruction of war, far 
more than any pain arising from isolation or misunderstanding, 
that finally broke down Bright's strength and endurance and with- 
drew him, in 1856, from public life. He had in especial measure 
the emotion Wordsworth describes as, 

Due abhorrence of their guilt 
For whose dire ends tears flow and blood is spilt. 

While he was seeking health in Italy, there came in February 1857 
the dramatic overthrow of Palmerston by Cobden's Vote of Censure 
on the Chinese War. But at the General Election Palmerston 
swept the country on a wave of Jingoism, and every member of 
the " Manchester " or peace party lost his seat. Bright heard 
at Florence that he was placed at the foot of the poll in Manchester, 
on the express ground of his opposition to the Crimean and Chinese 
Wars. In the wise and courageous letter which he sent to Cobden 1 
he made two prophecies, both fulfilled even more rapidly than he 

" Ten years hence, those who live so long may see a complete 
change on the questions on which the public mind has recently 
been so active and so much mistaken. . . . We have taught what 

1 April 10, 1857. 


was true in our ' School,' but the discipline was a little too severe 
for the scholars. Disraeli will say he was right ; we are hardly of 
the English type, and success, political and personal success, cannot 
afford to reject the use which may be made of ignorance and prejudice 
among a people. This is his doctrine and, with his views, it is 
true ; but, as we did not seek for personal objects, it is not true 
of us. If we are rejected for peace and for truth, we stand higher 
before the world and for the future than if we mingled with the 
patient mediocrities which compose the present Cabinet." 

In August 1857 a movement was set on foot among Birmingham 
Radicals to secure Bright for their vacant seat. The one question 
in doubt was his attitude to the Indian Mutiny, news of which 
was just then filling England with horror and panic. An urgent 
telegram to Scotland received a satisfactory reply, which he 
expanded in his election address. In the latter (August 8, 1857) 
he said : 

" The success of the insurrection would involve anarchy in 
India unless some great man, emerging from the chaos, should 
build up a new empire based on and defended by military power. 
I am not prepared to defend the steps by which England has obtained 
dominion in the East but, looking to the interests of India and of 
England, I cannot oppose such measures as may be deemed necessary 
to suppress the existing disorder. To restore order to India is mercy 
to India, but heavy will be the guilt of our countrymen should we 
neglect hereafter any measures which would contribute to the welfare 
of its hundred millions of population. I hope the acts of the Govern- 
ment will be free from that vindictive and sanguinary spirit which 
is shown in many of the letters which appear in the newspapers, 
and that when the present crisis is over, all that exists of statesman- 
ship in England will combine to work what good is possible out 
of so much evil." 

To this position he steadily adhered. As Mr. Trevelyan com- 
ments, his Quaker training freed him from the colour prejudice 
so deeply rooted amongst Englishmen, and he condemned in unsparing 
terms the blind passion of revenge which found vent in barbaric 
acts in India and wild words at home. Some Friends felt that this 
pronouncement was a surrender to the war spirit, and it was to meet 
their objection that Bright wrote to Joseph Sturge (in the letter 
already quoted). 

" Does our friend Southall think our Government should rest 


quiet and allow every Englishman in India to be murdered ? I 
don't think so. They must act on their principles, seeing they admit 
no others. I have never advocated the extreme non-resistance 
principle in public or in private. I don't know whether I would 
logically maintain it." But whether Bright exposed himself to 
criticism from pacifist or from militarist, Birmingham welcomed 
him gladly and returned him unopposed, even though for some months 
more he could take no active part in politics. It was not until the 
autumn of 1858 that he was able to deliver the first of his great 
addresses to his constituents, which were to be the pride and delight 
of the city for many years to come. This speech on foreign policy, 
made on October 29th, is throughout entirely characteristic in its 
moral fervour, its passionate earnestness, and its touches of homely 
humour. In the opening sentences he met the charge of want of 

" How, indeed, can I, any more than any of you, be un-English 
and anti-national ? Was I not born upon the same soil ? Do I not 
come of the same English stock ? " and, after a scathing description 
of the confused policy which led to our past wars for the '' balance 
of power " and of the tangle of treaties which still hampered our 
international relations, he uttered the magnificent apologia for his 
own attitude, which, familiar as it is, must be quoted once more 

" I believe there is no permanent greatness to a nation except 
it be based upon morality. I do not care for military greatness or 
military renown. I care for the condition of the people among 
whom I live. There is no man in England who is less likely to speak 
irreverently of the Crown and Monarchy of England than I am ; 
but crowns, coronets, mitres, military display, the pomp of war, 
wide colonies and a huge Empire, are, in my view, all trifles, light 
as air, and not worth considering, unless with them you can have 
a fair share of comfort, contentment, and happiness among the great 
body of the people. . . . 

" I have not, as you have observed, pleaded that this country 
should remain without adequate and scientific means of defence. 
I acknowledge it to be the duty of your statesmen, acting upon 
the known opinions and principles of ninety-nine out of every 
hundred persons in the country, at all times, with all possible 
moderation, but with all possible efficiency to take steps which 
shall preserve order within and on the confines of your kingdom. 


But I shall repudiate and denounce the expenditure of every shilling, 
the engagement of every man, the employment of every ship, which 
has no object but intermeddling in the affairs of other countries, 
and endeavouring to extend the boundaries of an Empire which 
is already large enough to satisfy the greatest ambition, and I fear 
is much too large for the highest statesmanship to which any man 
has yet attained." 

It was in this very speech that Bright emphasized the solemn 
sense of responsibility which should weigh upon all political orators, 
and it is surely his right that this careful statement of his peace 
position should be accepted at its full value. 

In the next summer Bright would only give his support to the 
Palmerston-Russell Government, then in process of formation, 
in return for a pledge of non-intervention in the war raging in 
Northern Italy. Russell gave it readily, for, as he said, the chief 
fear was lest distrust of Napoleon III should lead us to intervene 
on the Austrian side, and his and Palmerston's Italian sympathies 
were directed to the preservation of an attitude of benevolent 
neutrality. This was the first-fruits of Bright's teaching, a greater 
triumph was secured when we remained at peace through the 
American and Danish Wars, and by that time we had learnt the 
lesson sufficiently well to pass through the Austro-Prussian and 
Franco- Prussian Wars without a hint that our interests were 
involved or our intervention necessary. 

Yet distrust of the Emperor of the French swept Palmerston 
and the hotter heads of the nation into a " French panic " in the 
years 1859 to 1861. Cobden and Bright strove, in speeches and 
writings, to dissipate the atmosphere of mutual mistrust and 
suspicion. The French Commercial Treaty, carried through by 
Cobden in i860, was intended to counteract the war preparations ; 
it was a favourite thesis of the two great Free Traders that protective 
tariffs and other hindrances to international trade were a frequent 
incentive to war. At this time Bright was much exercised by 
the rapid growth of armaments in Europe. He wrote to Cobden x 
(October 10, i860) : "The greatest mechanical intellects of our 
time are absorbed in the question how to complete instruments of 
defence and destruction, and there seems no limit to their discoveries 
or projects, so long as France and England shall lead in great arma- 
ments and in the attempt to dominate over the world." 

1 Trevelyan, p. 292. 


In January 1861 he proposed to Gladstone that the Government 
should allow Cobden to supplement his treaty success of the previous 
year by negotiating with the French Emperor for a mutual reduction 
of armarments. " At least fifteen millions a year might be saved 
to the two countries at once by such an arrangement as I speak of, 
besides the increasing peril of war from these frightful preparations 
and this incessant military excitement." Bright had reason to believe 
that the Emperor (who, as President, had made such a suggestion 
in 1849 only for it to be rejected by Palmerston) would favour 
the plan, while in England it had the support of Disraeli as leader 
of the Opposition, but it was not taken up by the Palmerston 
Government, which thus threw away a precious opportunity. Within 
five years the rivalry in armaments was transferred to Prussia and 
France, and the dreaded conflagration soon followed. 

But before that time Bright had to pass through a crisis which 
tried him more keenly than any other episode of his life, excepting 
the dark years of the Crimean War. In the summer of 1861 the 
smouldering trouble between North and South in the United States 
burst into flame, and for four years the great Republic was torn 
by civil war. Bright in his private business life suffered severely from 
the cotton famine induced by the Northern blockade, but his sympa- 
thies never wavered. To him the cause of the North was the cause 
of liberation against slavery, and of constitutional order against 
rebellion. 1 He steadfastly opposed the attempts made in England 
to recognize the Confederate Government as an independent State, 
and his great speeches did much to instruct public opinion on the 
merits of the struggle. Even at the opening of the war he defended 
the Federal Government with a significant proviso. He said : 
" No man is more in favour of peace than I am ; no man has 
denounced war more than I have, probably, in this country ; few 
men in their public life have suffered more obloquy I had almost 
said more indignity in consequence of it. But I cannot for the 
life of me see upon any of those principles upon which States are 
governed now I say nothing of the literal words of the New 
Testament I cannot see how the state of affairs in America with 
regard to the United States Government could have been different 
from what it is at this moment." 

In his private letters to Sumner he expressed himself more freely, 
blaming the North for mistakes of policy in the past and for their 

1 For another view vide Goldwin Smith, The United States, p. 249. 


"foolish tariff" which alienated English opinion. Indeed, while 
denouncing the Southern leaders as " traitors to human nature 
itself," he was at first doubtful whether the war could be brought 
to a successful issue and feared the brutalizing effects of the struggle 
on the America which he loved and admired. In the autumn of 
1 86 1 he wrote to Sumner: "Many who cavil at you now say, 
' If the war were for liberating the slave, then we could see something 
worth fighting for, and we could sympathize with the North.' I 
cannot urge you to such a course, the remedy for slavery would be 
almost worse than the disease, and yet how can such a disease be got 
rid of without some desperate remedy ? " 

During the Trent crisis of 1861 Bright was one of the most 
strenuous workers for peace, 1 his letters to Sumner urging modera- 
tion on the American side were read in the Lincoln Cabinet, and 
received the more attention because at the same time Bright was 
making some of his most effective speeches on behalf of the 
Northern cause. In the Alabama difficulty he was equally earnest 
that England should be ready to submit the case to arbitration. 
At Rochdale (December 4, 1861) he pleaded for the same benevolent 
neutrality towards the North that we had exercised towards Italy 
in 1859, and a few days later in the same town (December 21st) 
he spoke out boldly against the criticisms that The Times directed 
against the North : " I hope it is equally averse to fratricidal strife 
in other districts ; for if it be true that God has made of one blood 
all the families of man to dwell on the face of all the earth, it must 
be fratricidal strife whether we are slaughtering Russians in the 
Crimea or bombarding towns on the sea-coast of the United States. 

" Now, no one will expect that I should stand forward as the 
advocate of war, or as the defender of that great sum of all crimes 
which is involved in war. But when we are discussing a question 
of this nature, it is only fair that we should discuss it upon principles 
which are acknowledged not only in the country where the strife 
is being carried on, but are universally acknowledged in this country. 
When I discussed the Russian War, seven or eight years ago, I always 
condemned it on principles which were accepted by the Government 
and people of England, and I took my facts from the Blue-book 
presented to Parliament. I take the liberty, then, of doing that in 

1 On December 9th, when war seemed imminent, he wrote to Cobden : " I 
look for a retirement from Parliament if war actually takes place. I will not kill 
myself with proving it wicked, as I nearly did seven years ago." 



this case ; and I say that, looking at the principles avowed in 
England, and at its policy, there is no man, who is not absolutely 
a non-resistant in every sense, who can fairly challenge the conduct 
of the American Government in this war. It would be a curious 
thing to find that the party in this country which on every public 
question affecting England is in favour of war at any cost, when 
they come to speak of the duty of the Government of the United 
States, is in favour of ' peace-at-any-price.' " 

Next year at Birmingham (December 18, 1862) he spoke 
in condemnation of all forms of excessive nationalism, " whether 
from an Englishman who professes to be strictly English, or from 
an American strictly American, or from a Frenchman strictly French 
whether it asserts in arrogant strains that Britannia rules the waves, 
or speak of ' manifest destiny ' and the supremacy of the ' Stars 
and Stripes,' or boasts that the Eagles of one nation, having once 
overrun Europe, may possibly repeat the experiment." In the same 
speech he expressed the opinion that only a miracle could have averted 
this " measureless calamity " of war, and brought about the aboli- 
tion of slavery by peaceful means. " Is not this war the penalty 
which inexorable justice exacts from America, North and South, 
for the enormous guilt of cherishing that frightful iniquity of slavery 
for the last eighty years ? " In a similar strain he wrote to 
Whittier : x "It seems as if a peaceable termination of the great evil 
of slavery was impossible the blindness, the pride, and the passion 
of men made it impossible. War was and is the only way out of the 
desperate difficulty of your country, and fearful as the path is, it 
cannot be escaped. I only hope there may be virtue enough in the 
North, notwithstanding the terrible working of the poison of 
slavery, to throw off the coil and to permit of a renovated and restored 

This letter has been described as one " in support of the 
American Civil War." It is rather one of gloomy submission to a 
terrible evil. That Bright supported the ideals represented by the 
North against those of the South is indisputable and, when Lincoln 
had once made Emancipation a plain issue, he felt that no peace 
could be admitted which involved any recognition of slavery. Perhaps 
his most emphatic expression of this is found in a letter to Villiers 
(August 5, 1863). 

" I want no end of the war, and no compromise, and no reunion 
1 February 27, 1863, Pickard, Life of Whittier, ii. 451. 


till the negro is made free beyond all chance of failure." This 
language is strong enough, but it must be remembered that it 
was used by a neutral to a neutral, and not addressed to the 
warring North. His other letters of the time show that he feared 
the North was winning too easily and had not yet paid her share 
of the " penalty " for maintaining slavery. A week before he had 
written, also to Villiers (July 29, 1863) : " It needs as many 
plagues as Pharaoh suffered to force the corrupt portion of the 
Northern people to let the negro go." 1 

Mr. Trevelyan, in his praise of Bright's attitude, describes him 
as " swallowing " the peace formula by such a declaration, but the 
peace " formula " does not include a desire for the victory of the 
worse cause and the lower civilization. Bright deliberately refrained 
from urging the North into war on behalf of the slave, 2 but when 
that battle-cry had been adopted, he naturally desired that it should 
prove no false claim. Peace principles do not involve a neutrality 
which apportions equal condemnation to every belligerent, any more 
than religious toleration involves the view that all doctrines are 
equally false.3 

When the war ended, he wrote in his journal : " The friends 
of freedom everywhere should thank God and take courage." 

The eighteen years from the Peace of Paris in 1856 to the fall 
of Mr. Gladstone's Government in 1874 were, as Mr. Trevelyan 
says, 4 a time in which Bright's principles of foreign policy gradually 
won their way in England, until even in the Cabinet itself they 
supplanted the evil old superstition of the " balance of power," so 
long honoured by statesmen at the expense of the peoples of Europe. 
In 1859 sympathy for Italy and distrust of Napoleon III were 
counteracting forces which ensured our neutrality.5 In 1861 a 
few wise men on both sides of the Atlantic had restrained the rasher 
and more sensitive spirits in each nation. In 1864 a more dangerous 
crisis arose over the question of Schleswig-Holstein. Palmerston 
and Russell had expressed their sympathy for Denmark in terms 

1 Trevelyan, Life, p. 319. 2 Vide ante, p. 289. 

3 It may, perhaps, be noted that Bright seldom spent his eloquence in 
denouncing the actual conduct of hostilities by a belligerent, as distinct from the 
policy which led to war and the moral and economic evils which resulted from 
it. In 1861 he dissociated himself from Cobden's objection to the methods of the 
Northern blockade. " War is barbarous, and this is but an act of war " (to 
Sumner, December 21, 1861). 4 Trevelyan, Life, p. 417. 

5 See Bright's Speech at Birmingham, January 29, 1864. 


which were interpreted by the Danes as pledges of intervention on 
their behalf. But the Cabinet and the country were resolutely 
against a new Continental war, and the " two aged ministers," as 
Bright called them, had to retreat with considerable loss of prestige 
from their original position. Bright, of course, spoke against inter- 
vention, 1 pointing out that England had no concern in the question 
of the Duchies, and adding : " If there be a Government possible 
in our day that will plunge this country into war under the pretence 
of maintaining the balance of power in Europe and sustaining any 
kingdom there, be it little or great, I say that Government not only 
is not worthy of the confidence of the people of England, but deserves 
our execration and abhorrence." 

But for the time the lesson had been learnt. We were content 
to remain spectators in the duel between Austria and Prussia in 
i866, 2 and in the greater and more sanguinary duel of France and 
Germany in 1870. In 1873 we swallowed the somewhat nauseous 
medicine of the Alabama award without excessive complaint. 
Bright's influence had had some effect in inducing American 
statesmen to modify the less tenable of the claims for compensation. 
This period, though saddened by the death of Cobden, must have 
been, politically, the most serene of Bright's life. Both in home 
and foreign policy Conservative and Liberal Governments alike 
bore witness to the impress of his teaching.3 In December 1868, 
with much searching of heart, he joined the Gladstone Government, 
just fourteen years after he had been burnt in effigy, and nine years 
after he had been excluded, by Court and aristocratic influence, 
from the Whig Government of 1859. 

In the same year he had received the freedom of Edinburgh, 
and at his visit 4 delivered two fine speeches, one of which, to a 
deputation of working men, condensed into a few pungent paragraphs 
his teaching and his aspiration. After telling them that past wars 
had saddled the country with a debt on which they were then paying 
out of taxation ^26,000,000 as interest, that they were spending 

1 In 1858 (October 29th), Bright had protested against the " networks and 
complications of our treaty system," including the treaty which " invites us, 
enables us, and perhaps, if we acted fully up to our duty with regard to it, would 
compel us to interfere in the question between Denmark and the Duchies." 

2 Even The Times, in reviewing the events of that year, spoke of " the recent 
English policy of withdrawing as much as possible from foreign complications " 
as being "common ground to both parties" (Trevelyan, Life, p. 417). 

3 E.g. in Franchise, Land, and Irish legislation. 

4 November 5, 1868. 


a similar sum on military and naval preparations, in spite of the 
discredit under which " the ancient theory of the balance of power " 
then laboured, he continued : 

" I do not know whether it is a dream, or a vision, or the fore- 
sight of a future reality that sometimes passes across my mind I 
like to dwell upon it but I frequently think the time may come 
when the maritime nations of Europe this renowned country of 
which we are citizens, France, Prussia, Russia, resuscitated Spain, 
Italy and the United States of America may see that those vast 
fleets are of no use ; that they are grand inventions by which the 
blood is withdrawn from the veins of the people to feed their 
ulcers ; and that they may come to this wise conclusion they will 
combine at their joint expense, and under some joint management, 
to supply the sea with a sufficient sailing and armed police, which 
may be necessary to keep the peace on all parts of the watery surface 
of the globe, and that those great instruments of war and oppression 
shall no longer be upheld. This, of course, by many will be thought 
to be a dream or a vision, not the foresight of what they call a 
statesman. Still, I have faith that it will not be for ever that we 
shall read of what Wilberforce called the noxious race of heroes 
and conquerors ; that what Christianity points to will one day 
be achieved, and that the nations throughout the world will live 
in peace with one another." 

When the catastrophe of the Franco- Prussian War convulsed 
Europe in July 1870, Bright was suffering from serious illness, 
and unable to take his share in Cabinet deliberations. He roused 
himself, however, sufficiently to protest against the Government's 
action in regard to Belgium. The secret draft treaty suggested 
by France to Prussia in 1867 under which France was to annex 
Belgium, had just been published by The Times. Mr. Gladstone 
wrote to Bright (August 1, 1870), that this revelation, " has thrown 
upon us the necessity either of doing something fresh to secure 
Belgium, or else of saying that under no circumstances would we 
take any step to secure her from absorption. . . . Neither do 
we think it would be right, even if it were safe, to announce that 
we would in any case stand by with folded arms, and see actions done 
which would amount to a total extinction of public right in Europe." 1 
The step taken was a treaty, by which England engaged to join with 
either belligerent in the defence of Belgium, should the other violate 

1 Morley, Life of Gladstone, i, 341. 


its neutrality. Bright was alarmed, and replied (August 3), " I 
differ from the Cabinet, and cannot sanction our entering into any 
new engagement for the military defence of Belgium, nor can I 
consent to ask Parliament to raise men and money for supporting 
the independence of any foreign State. To adopt the policy of the 
Cabinet would be for me to abandon principles which I have held 
and advocated during all my public life." 1 Accordingly, though 
with great regret, he pressed his resignation upon his chief. " I 
am consoled by the belief that I have never taken a step more clearly 
loyal to the Sovereign, and more faithful to the true interests of the 
people. I cannot consent to spend English blood and treasure for 
purposes which I do not deem to be English." Bright's objection 
was, in fact, primarily to the original treaty of 1831, as it is usually 
interpreted, and then to its renewal or re-emphasis under very 
different conditions. 2 

Mr. Gladstone replied with an assurance that the step had been 
taken in the interests of peace, and that the annexation of Belgium 
by France would be a public crime, which might be averted by such 
a warning as the renewal of the treaty. He urged his colleague 
not to act hastily, but to await events, and this suggestion Bright 
adopted, being " very anxious to do no harm at so critical a time." 

He wrote more than once to Gladstone during the autumn, 
expressing grave misgivings over the question of Alsace-Lorraine. 
"We ought strongly to urge" (September 11, 1870) "the folly 
of retaining French territory, for to annex any part of France would 
be to sow the seeds of another war at no distant date. Europe has 
a right, at least by argument and advice, to endeavour to bring about 
such a settlement as shall leave no needless grievance in the minds 
of the French people." Again (October 3rd), while considering 
Gladstone's proposal for a plebiscite of the provinces impracticable, 
he wrote, " the true objection is that peace will be less secure in future 
if territory be taken from France, and should Prussia be at war with 
Austria or Russia, she may calculate on an attack from the country 
she is now seeking to despoil. ... I had hoped that Germany 
would have been content with the demolition of the frontier fortresses, 

1 For permission to quote from these letters I am indebted to the kindness of 
Mrs. W. S. Clark and Mr. John Albert Bright. 

3 In 1858, in his criticism of the multifarious treaties which hampered our 
foreign policy, he had said : " If I mistake not, we have a treaty which binds us 
down to the maintenance of the little kingdom of Belgium, as established after 
its separation from Holland." 


and the payment of the expenses of the war but the conqueror 
is seldom generous or just and if the temper of the Germans is 
like that of the English during the Crimean War, there is no hope 
of good from any appeal to them. I suspect neither Russia nor 
Austria would quite approve of a protest on the ground of the indis- 
position of the population to the transfer to Germany. They have 
not been accustomed to pay much attention to the popular will. 
The more broad objection, which I call European, would perhaps 
suit them better, and I think it would have quite as much weight 
with Germany. . . . France, under her military Government, 
has been a constant source of disquiet to Europe, and she will now 
suffer the more on that account. I grieve over the troubles of her 
peoples yet, from the standpoint of Germany, I am not surprised 
at the determination of the Germans to disable her for the future." 

In the previous letter he had described the triumph of Germany 
and the downfall of France as " a great gain for liberty and peace " 
words which seem now unduly hopeful, but which have some 
justification, if we compare the condition of Europe during the 
twenty years of the Third Empire with the twenty years from the 
siege of Paris to the cession of Heligoland. 

When, in November 1870, Russia took advantage of the 
change in the European situation to shake off the restrictions imposed 
on her in the Black Sea by the Treaty of Paris, Bright again urged 
the Government to exercise restraint. " Forgive me," he wrote 
to Gladstone (November 18th), "for supposing there was danger 
of your becoming too much involved in the Russian question. But 
there are people who seem always to hunger for war, and Govern- 
ments are too often moved by them, and drift on to positions from 
which there seems no honourable retreat. . . . When I remember 
the treatment of Russia by England and France in 1854, I am not 
much surprised that, when France is down, and England almost 
helpless in the matter, Russia should speak in uncivil tones." 

The peaceful settlement of the Alabama question by the award 
of 1873 gave much satisfaction to Bright. He wrote to Granville : 

" I believe if the English Government had shown the same 
wise and just disposition in time past, almost all wars with European 
Powers since the days of William III might have been avoided." 

But he was still able to take little active part in politics, and his 
chief utterances on the peace question during these years are to be 
found in a few public letters. 


To a working man's conference held at Leeds amid the war 
alarms of 1878 he declares that if the trade unions "would speak 
out for peace, there would be no war. There are men and classes 
to whom war is sometimes gain ; to the working men it is only loss." 1 

In 1874 the Gladstone Government had been succeeded by 
that of Disraeli, the first to adopt deliberately the watchword of 
" Imperalism," and the policy of aggression on the borders of the 
British Empire. This, and the threat of intervention in the Russo- 
Turkish quarrel, involved the country in wars and dangers of war, 
which finally led to a reaction in favour of peace and a change of 

Bright did much, though less, indeed, than Gladstone, to bring 
about the change. In 1870 he had expressed the hope that, on the 
question of foreign policy, "I may yet have strength given me to speak 
at least one speech to my countrymen for their blindness upon it 
has been their bane, and it may be their ruin." 2 The wish was more 
than fulfilled. In 18778 he was able to make several strong and 
strongly reasoned speeches against the threatened Russian War. 
One of the best, delivered at Birmingham on January 13, 1878, 
has several passages which have now gained a fresh significance. 
He reminded his hearers that in 1839 "some people had really 
so nearly approached a condition fit for Bedlam that they believed 
the Russians were likely to come through the Baltic and invade 
the east coast of England," and then he went on to draw a parallel 
between conditions in 18545 an< ^ 18778. 

" But still, we cannot disguise from ourselves the fact that there 
is something of a war party in this country, and that it has free 
access to some, and indeed to not a few, of the newspapers of the 
London Press. If there is any man here who thinks the question 
of our policy doubtful, if there is any man in the country who shall 
read what I say now who is in doubt, I ask him to look back to the 
policy of twenty-three years ago and to see how it was then tried, 
and how it succeeded or how it failed. The arguments were the 
same then exactly as they are now. The falsehoods were the same. 
The screechings and howlings of a portion of the Press were just 
about the same. But the nation now and if nations learned nothing, 
how long could they be sustained ? has learned something and 
it has risen above this. I am persuaded that there is a great difference 
of opinion as to Russian policy in the main, or Turkish policy in this 

1 Public Letters, p. 213. To Gladstone, December 14, 1870. 


war, and men may pity especially the suffering on the one side or 
the suffering on the other for my share I pity the sufferings on 
both sides and whatever may be our differences of opinion, I think 
it is conclusively proved that the vast bulk of all the opinion that 
is influential in this country upon this question leads to this : that 
the nation is for a strict and rigid neutrality throughout this war. 

" It is a painful and terrible thing to think how easy it is to 
stir up a nation to war. Take up any decent history of this country 
from the time of William III until now for two centuries, or nearly 
so and you will find that wars are always supported by a class of 
arguments which after the war is over, people find were arguments 
they should not have listened to. It is just so now, for unfortunately 
there still remains the disposition to be excited on these questions. 
Some poet I forget which it is has said : 

Religion, freedom, vengeance, what you will, 

A word's enough to raise mankind to kill ; 

Some cunning phrase by faction caught and spread, 

That guilt may reign, and wolves and worms be fed. 

' Some cunning phrase by faction caught and spread ' like the 
cunning phrase of the ' balance of power,' which has been described 
as the ghastly phantom which the Government of this country 
has been pursuing for more than two centuries, and has never yet 
overtaken. ' Some cunning phrase ' like that we have now of 
' British interests.' Lord Derby has said the wisest thing that has 
been uttered by any member of the Administration during the 
discussion on this war, when he said that the greatest of British 
interests is peace. And a hundred, far more than a hundred, public 
meetings have lately said the same, and millions of households of 
men and women have thought the same." 

Happily the war party of 1878 had less power than its forerunner 
of 1855. But its passions were as easily inflamed and as reckless. 
A jingo mob broke Mr. Gladstone's windows. Bright was attacked 
and roughly handled on leaving a peace-meeting at the Free Trade 
Hall, Manchester, on April 30th. A fortnight later his wife died, 
and he took no further active part in the peace campaign, although 
he watched its progress anxiously. Next year, in his annual speech 
to his constituents, 1 he denounced " this unpleasant business " of 
the Afghan War then in progress, as one " deformed by falseness 

1 Birmingham, April i 1879. 


and dishonour." This judgment he reiterated in the following 
year, with fuller information. 1 

" It was a war begun in the dark, carried on in secret by a 
diplomacy which was denied in both Houses of Parliament, and 
falsely denied. It was begun against the evidence and opinion . . . 
of all the sensible and just men who have heretofore been thought 
the greatest authorities upon Indian matters. . . . Our Govern- 
ment, by its policy, has carried anarchy, and war, and slaughter, 
and fire throughout the whole of that country." 

These wars upon native races always aroused Bright's deep 
indignation, and in this election campaign of 1880 he had for text 
not only the Afghan, but the Zulu War. In allusion to both he said, 3 
" I believe all wars are savage and cruel but I mean harsh and cruel 
wars on uncivilized or half-civilized men. When I read of transac- 
tions of that kind something always puts to me this question : ' What 
is it that makes, if anything makes, this needless and terrible slaughter 
different in its nature from those transactions which we call murder ? ' 
... At most, in regard to either of these people, the case was one 
of suspicion ; but was it right, upon a mere suspicion, that a country 
like this should send in the one case 20,000 and in the other 40,000 
troops to invade territories, and to put to death not less perhaps 
than 20,000 men engaged in the defence of their own country, 
which in our case we considered honourable and needful ? " 
Again : " You hear of the hanging of scores of men, you hear of 
villages burnt, of women and children turned out into the snow 
and the cold of this inclement season, and all done at the command 
of a Government and a people professing to be wiser, more intelligent, 
more humane, and more Christian than those upon whom those 
attacks are made. . . . Take down, at any rate, your Ten Com- 
mandments from inside your churches, and say no longer that you 
read, or believe in, or regard, the Sermon on the Mount. Abandon 
your Christian pretensions, or else abandon your savage and heathen 
practices." He had the courage on a later occasion to describe the 
Zulu warriors as men " who, if they had been of our nation, would 
have had songs written in their honour, and magnificent orations 
delivered in their praise, and their leading men who fell would have 
found no doubt a home for their bones and a tablet in Westminster 

March 28, 1880. January 22, 1880. 

3 Birmingham, March 28, 1880. 


In this speech one passage is peculiarly characteristic of the 
tenderness which always underlay his abhorrence of war and oppres- 
sion. It may be compared with the description of his little children, 
which occurs in the midst of his great speech on America (June 30, 
1863). Next to children, Bright loved animals, and his eloquence 
made the sufferings of the army camels an item in the indictment 
of the Disraeli Government. 

" You know something of the untold miseries which war brings 
upon men and women and little children ; but there is one point 
that nobody, so far as I know, has ever touched upon, that which 
has always had a certain interest for me, and which has excited my 
sympathy. I have seen in some of the narratives of the Afghan 
War that all the region round had been swept for camels as beasts 
of burden for the forces. What became of the camels ? The least 
number I have heard it put at was 30,000 it has been reckoned 
as high as 40,000 or 50,000 camels who have perished in these 
expeditions. One of our greatest poets in a beautiful stanza has 
one line where he says, ' Mute the camel labours with the heaviest 
load,' and though the camel is not able by any voice of his to make 
protest or complaint, yet the burdened, overdriven, exhausted, 
dying beast I cannot but believe that even the cruelties inflicted 
on him will be found written upon imperishable tablets by the 
recording angel." 

The General Election of 1880 ended in a decisive victory for 
the Liberals. Bright again entered the Cabinet, but his tenure of 
office was not to be long. With his colleagues he became involved 
in the deplorable South African policy, and cannot be acquitted 
of a share of responsibility for the errors and delays which culminated 
in the disaster of Majuba Hill. But when he awoke to the facts 
he was one of the strongest influences for peace and conciliation. 
Indeed, if hostilities had been continued, the Cabinet would in all 
probability have lost both Bright and Chamberlain. Even before 
the matter was finally adjusted he replied to a deputation that 
" the conflict is one in which England can gain nothing, not even 
military glory, which is the poorest kind of glory in my view which 
men and nations strive for." 1 The discoveries of the mistakes of this 
year had probably aroused his vigilance, for he became a strong 
opponent of the Cabinet's Egyptian policy, although in this struggle 
he stood alone. When the bombardment of Alexandria took place, 

1 Public Letters, p. 250. 


he resigned. The only wonder is that he delayed so long, but 
Gladstone had repeatedly assured him that the negotiations would 
have a peaceful end, and he was very reluctant to embarrass a 
Government to some of whose members he was bound by ties of 
old and intimate friendship. On July 12th he wrote to Gladstone 
announcing his resignation and explaining it by " the doctrines 
connected with foreign policy which I have preached and defended 
during forty years of my public life." Gladstone urged reconsidera- 
tion, but Bright was inflexible. " I cannot allow the country " 
(he wrote next day) " to assume that I have supported, or do support, 
a policy the results of which are so dreadful, and to which I have 
been opposed." Again, on July 15th : 

" I should ruin myself in the estimation of all those who have 
been influenced by my teaching on what should be our foreign policy, 
and on the moral code by which we ought to be, and by which I 
feel myself, bound. There is nothing the world can offer me which 
would make amends for the remorse I should feel if I were 
associated with the policy in which the Cabinet is involved. . . . 
From your conversation to-day, and from your letter or memo- 
randum, I am driven to the conclusion that there is a wide gulf, 
wider than I had supposed, between your views and mine." 

Although Bright refrained from a campaign against the Egyptian 
War on the lines of his speeches in the Crimean War, his condemna- 
tion of it never wavered. In his short speech to the House of Com- 
mons explaining his resignation, he described the bombardment 
as " a manifest breach not only of international law, but also of the 
moral law." His other public utterance at the time took the form 
of a reply l to the Reverend Thomas Rippon, who had drawn his 
attention to a criticism by the Spectator. 

" The Spectator and other supporters of this war answer me 
by saying that I oppose the war because I condemn all war. The 
same thing was said during the Crimean War. 

" I have not opposed any war on the ground that all war is 
unlawful and immoral. I have never expressed such an opinion. 
I have discussed these questions of war, Chinese, Crimean, Afghan, 
Zulu, Egyptian, on grounds common to and admitted by all thought- 
ful men, and have condemned them with arguments which I believe 
have never been answered. 

" I will not discuss the abstract question. I shall be content 

1 Public Letters, p. 273. 


when we reach the point at which all Christian men will condemn 
war when it is unnecesssary, unjust, and leading to no useful or 
good result. We are far from that point now, but we make some 
way towards it. 

" But of this war I may say this, that it has no better justifica- 
tion than other wars which have gone before it and that, doubtless, 
when the blood is shed, and the cost paid, and the results seen and 
weighed, we shall be generally of that opinion. Perhaps the bond- 
holders and those who have made money by it, and those who have 
got promotion and titles and pensions, will defend it, but thoughtful 
and Christian men will condemn it." In 1883, at a meeting of 
the Liberation Society, he attacked in scathing language a thanks- 
giving for the campaign promulgated by one Bishop in his diocese 
in which was the phrase, " Teach us to see that Thy hand hath 
done it." " It proves " (said Bright) " the indestructible quality 
that there is in the Christian faith that it should so long have 
survived the treason of those who pretend to teach it." 

Later, in his opposition to the Home Rule Bill, he alluded to 
the bombardment as " a great blunder, and I am afraid nationally 
a great crime." 

Except in this opposition to the Home Rule Bill, which was 
partly based on his detestation of the disorder and violence by which 
the Nationalist agitation had been defaced, Bright in his last years 
took little part in politics. He watched with apprehension the growth 
of the militarist spirit in both political parties a growth which 
led to Mr. Gladstone's resignation of leadership a few years later, 
and he found no politician willing to take up his mantle and go forth 
as a prophet of peace. 

What then had he accomplished in the cause of peace during 
almost fifty years of political activity ? Throughout his life he had 
stood firmly for principles of foreign policy, which were profoundly 
unpopular when he first advocated them, yet became the admitted 
maxims of the British Government for many years of the nineteenth 
century. He denounced secret diplomacy and entangling treaties, 
and the heedless spirit which goes to war for prestige or intervenes 
in quarrels where the country's interests are not involved. With 
Cobden's help, he taught the nations to know one another better 
and showed them the folly of the panic-breeding competition in 
armaments. When Lord Derby, in 1878, declared that " the greatest 
of British interests is peace," he showed himself a pupil in the school 


of Bright and Cobden. But it needed less wisdom to draw this moral 
after the object lesson of the Crimean War and the convulsions 
of Europe during the 'sixties and 'seventies. Bright had the courage 
and insight to teach the principles of peace in the midst of the fury 
and madness of war. As Mr. Trevelyan says, he " showed the 
world how a war can be patriotically denounced, with permanent 
effects upon opinion in favour of keeping peace." 1 Yet eloquence 
and patriotism had inspired the leaders of the opposition to the 
American and French Wars, but they did not stand as remote from 
all suspicion of personal or party advantage as did Bright and Cobden, 
who manfully risked (and incurred) the loss of political prospects 
and popular influence to uphold what they believed to be right 
in itself and for the true interests of their country. 

Amongst innumerable false, unmov'd, 

Unshaken, unseduc'd, unterrified, 

His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal ; 

Nor number, nor example, with him wrought 

To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind. 

Bright was equally ready to give up office itself for the sake of 
principle, but this was a lesser sacrifice than those he underwent 
during the Crimean War. He was devoid of the personal ambition 
which finds its reward in political power and patronage, and he 
was always more ready to leave than to enter a Ministry. His 
countrymen felt assured that the moral principles which he advocated 
in his political speeches were the same in kind as those guiding his 
individual conduct. This, rather than his eloquence, gave him 
his unequalled hold upon the affections of the working people. 
Dr. Dale of Birmingham said (on the " silver wedding " of Bright's 
representation of the city) : " The man is greater than the eloquence, 
the man is nobler than his service. ... I believe he has elevated 
the national ideal of political morality." 

It was a common sneer of their opponents (even echoed by 
Tennyson) that Bright and Cobden's advocacy of peace was based 
on the fear of the mere monetary and commercial losses of war. 
Bright had lived through the years following Waterloo, and he 
had seen the abject wretchedness of the mass of the people, due to 
the pressure of war debt and war taxation. As he said, he cared 
for the condition of the people among whom he lived, and the 

1 Trevelyan, p. 218. 


impulse of pity and indignation inspired his opposition to the Corn 
Laws and to war. In his old age he wrote : " In war the working 
men find the main portion of the blood which is shed, and on them 
fall the poverty and misery which are occasioned by the increase 
of taxes and damage to industry." 1 The economic arguments against 
war are neither ignoble nor unpatriotic, and Bright never shrank 
from employing them. But the moral argument fills and colours 
every speech which he made. One of his finest perorations is typical 
of many other passages. 2 

" The most ancient of profane historians has told us that the 
Scythians of his time were a very warlike people, and that they 
elevated an old cimeter upon a platform as a symbol of Mars, for to 
Mars alone, I believe, they built altars and offered sacrifices. To 
this cimeter they offered sacrifices of horses and cattle, the main 
wealth of the country, and more costly sacrifices than to all the 
rest of their gods ; I often ask myself whether we are at all advanced 
in one respect beyond those Scythians. What are our contributions 
to charity, to education, to morality, to religion, to justice, and to 
civil government, when compared with the wealth we expend in 
sacrifice to the old cimeter ? ... I do most devoutly believe that 
the moral law was not written for men alone in their individual 
character, but that it was written as well for nations, and for 
nations great as this of which we are citizens. If nations reject and 
deride that moral law, there is a penalty which will inevitably follow. 
It may not come at once, it may not come in our lifetime ; but, 
rely upon it, the great Italian poet is not a poet only, but a prophet 
when he says : 

The sword of heaven is not in haste to smite 
Nor yet doth linger. 

We have experience, we have beacons, we have landmarks enough. 
We know what the past has cost us, we know how much and how 
far we have wandered, but we are not left without a guide. It is 
true we have not, as an ancient people had, Urim and Thummim 
those oraculous gems on Aaron's breast from which to take 
counsel, but we have the unchangeable and eternal principles of the 
moral law to guide us, and only so far as we walk by that guidance, 
can we be permanently a great nation or our people a happy people." 

1 Public Letters, p. 293. 

2 On foreign policy, Birmingham, October 29, 1858. 



Let all nations hear the sound by word or writing. Spare no place, spare 
no tongue nor pen ; but be obedient to the Lord God ; go through the 
work ; be valiant for the truth upon earth ; and tread and trample upon 
all that is contrary. . . . This is the word of the Lord God to you all, 
and a charge to you all in the presence of the living God ; be patterns, be 
examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come ; 
that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them ; 
then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of 
God in everyone ; whereby in them ye may be a blessing, and make the 
witness of God in them to bless you. . . . Go through your work 
faithfully, and in the strength and power of the Lord ; and be obedient 
to the power ; for that will save you out of the hands of unreasonable men, 
and preserve you over the world to himself. Letter of George Fox in 
Launceston Gaol, 1656. 



The West Indian Islands, occupied by England in the days of 
Charles I and the Commonwealth, were soon invaded by Quaker 
missionaries on their way to the American continent. Two women, 
Mary Fisher and Ann Austin, were the first visitors in Barbadoes 
in 1655, and in a few years' time there were settlements of Friends 
on that island, Jamaica, Antigua, Nevis, and Bermuda. At the high- 
water mark of Quakerism in Barbadoes there were five meeting- 
houses there, seating some 1,200 worshippers, and in the year 1700 
the number of Friends in Jamaica was reckoned at 9,000. The 
two women made but a short stay. In 1657 J onn Bowron of 
Durham travelled in Surinam and spoke frequently to the natives 
through an interpreter. They greeted him as " a good man come 
from far to preach the white man's God," and he seems to have 
been the first Quaker to give his message to men of another race. 1 
In the same year the Governor of Jamaica 3 wrote home for 
instructions how to deal with two Quaker visitors who appeared 
" people of an unblameable life," although he learnt from " prints " 
(English news letters) that their leaders at home were conspiring 
against the Government. Bermuda received the Quaker message 
in 1660. In Barbadoes a wealthy planter, Lieutenant-Colonel Rous 
and his son John became Friends and leaders of the Society in the 
island. John Rous, with other Barbadian Quakers, visited New 
England as a preacher in 1657. There he suffered cruel floggings 
and the loss of an ear by order of what Friends at home called bitterly 
" the new Inquisition in New England." Later he settled in 
England and married the eldest daughter of Margaret Fell, and in 
1 67 1 he returned to the West Indies with his father-in-law, George 

1 Piety Promoted, i. 234. 

2 Thurloe, State Papers, vi. 834. Vide Rufus Jones, Quakers in American 
Colonies, p. 43. 



Fox, and ten other English Quakers. They spent some strenuous 
months there before visiting North America, and during his stay 
Fox wrote an often-quoted letter to the Governor of Barbadoes 
defending Quakers against charges of heresy, and showing that they 
held orthodox views concerning the person and work of Christ. 
The islands, however, for Quakers were scarcely 

a grassy stage 
Safe from the storm and prelates' rage, 1 

for much emigration thither was involuntary. Cromwell began 
the bad practice of transporting prisoners of war as servants to the 
plantations, and it was soon extended to other persons of inconvenient 
views whom the home Government wished to keep at a safe distance. 
The most notorious instance of this practice was the wholesale 
exportation from the West Country after the Monmouth Rebellion, 
but even in 1677 the Governor of Nevis in an Act forbidding 
Friends to land on the island specifically excepted from the order 
"all such Quakers as are sent hither by his Majesty's special 
command." 3 There are frequent complaints in the colonial records 
that these Quakers, after their term of service, enjoyed what their 
neighbours considered an undue share of prosperity as merchants, 
planters, or shopkeepers. 

The rapid growth of Quakerism, as also the sensitiveness of 
its leaders to moral issues, is shown in an epistle sent by Fox in 
1657 to "Friends beyond the seas that have Blacks and Indian 
Slaves."3 " In this he points out that God hath made all nations 
of one blood, and that the gospel is preached to every creature under 
heaven. And so, he says, ' ye are to have the mind of Christ, 
and to be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.' "4 In his 
letter to the Governor of Barbadoes in 1671 he defended the practice 
of the Quakers there in giving moral and religious instruction to 
their negroes. The Governor feared that this instruction implied 
" teaching negroes to rebel," and his fear was probably not allayed 
by Fox's explanation : 

" As to their blacks or negroes, I desired them to endeavour 
to train them up in the fear of God, those that were bought, and 
those born in their families. 

. . That they would cause their overseers to deal mildly and 

1 Andrew Marvell. - Besse, ii. 362. 3 Fox, Epistles, p. 153. 

4 Quakers in the American Colonies, p. 44. 


gently with their negroes, and not use cruelty towards them, as the 
manner of some hath been and is ; and that after certain years of 
servitude they would make them free." 

Thus the first seeds of the anti-slavery movement were scattered, 
to grow and spread for a century and a half until the evil was 

It was not to be expected that the Quaker peace testimony 
would meet with much sympathy in the West Indies. The islands 
belonged to several of the chief European States Spain, France, 
Holland and Great Britain and were swept into the whirlpool 
of each European war in turn, while yet their position was so isolated 
that they had mainly to depend on their own resources for defence* 1 

In these wars there were temporary conquests, during which 
the conquered islands suffered from fire and sword, only to be handed 
back to their original owners when peace was made. The appearance 
of an enemy's fleet to bombard the shores was terrifying enough, 
but still more serious was the menace to trade from robbers on the 
high seas, who called themselves privateers in war-time, but were 
unabashed pirates in peace. The West India merchant ships made 
their voyages armed like men-of-war, and even so their rich cargoes 
often fell a prey to these adventurers. In addition, on some islands, 
there were still tribes of the wild Carib Indians who could be bribed 
or incited by Spain or France to make war on the English settlers, 
and there was the ever-present danger of a slave rebellion. 

Under these conditions, in most of the islands, both Friends 
and magistrates had to undergo considerable exercise of mind before 
they were able to reach a modus vivendi. In Barbadoes, for example, 
the Governor and Council met in June 1660 to consider measures 
for the safety of the island. The latest news from England showed 
that the restoration of Charles II was imminent, and it was feared 
that the King of France might claim some colonies from him 
in return for all the French aid given to the Stuarts in their necessity. 
The Council had before it some " Reasons against the being and 
sect of the Quakers within this island " as follows : 


1. For that they correspond not in the civil and military 
services and duties of this island equal with the other inhabitants. 

2. For that their principles and practice is against the funda- 


1 In 1650, Barbadoes declared for the Royalist cause, proclaiming Charles II 
as King, and the island was able to hold out until 1652. 


mentals of the Christian faith, constitution, and laws of the 

" 3. For that they daily seduce multitudes to be their proselytes 
and consequently weaken the island's defence." 

For these reasons the Council was advised to pass an Act against 
all refusing to serve in the militia, fining them " five hundred pounds 
of sugar for the first offence, one thousand pounds of sugar for the 
second, and a thousand pounds for every default after the second, 
and to be committed (to gaol) until the same be paid." 

With a promptness that might arouse envy in modern Ministries 
hampered by constitutional restraints, the advice was followed : 
" an Act was passed this day, and entered in the book of Acts." * 
Besse, in his chapter on Barbadoes, a gives the sequel. Between 
1659 and 1669 the Quakers were fined to the amount of 111,000 
pounds of sugar, of which all but 22,000 pounds was on account 
of the militia, and several members of the Society suffered imprison- 
ment. In the last-named year they petitioned the Governor and 
Council to relieve their sufferings, " for not bearing or sending in 
to arms, and for not sending help to build and repair forts ; we 
witnessing in measure that prophecy fulfilled, ' not to learn war any 
more,' and it is according to Christ's own words, where he saith ' My 
kingdom is not of this world, therefore My servants do not fight,' 
and it is likewise according to Christ's precept, to ' love enemies.' ; 

The hearts of the authorities were not softened, and fines increased. 
In the five years from 1669 to 1674 they amounted (for the militia) 
to nearly 118,000 pounds of sugar. In 1674 the Quakers petitioned 
once more, though, indeed, " petition " is hardly the appropriate 
word for their challenge. " So be it known unto all people, that 
from henceforward we are resolved to fight under no other 
commander but the Lord Jesus Christ. . . . We cannot, directly, 
nor indirectly, war, fight against, kill, nor destroy men's persons, 
neither be aiding nor assisting them therein ; but if we must suffer 
from men for obeying our Commander, we must bear it with patience 
until he shall arise to plead our cause." They meet the familiar 
taunt " that if all were of your mind, our enemies would come and 
take the island from us," by the reply that if all were of a mind to 
obey God's commandments they would escape his judgments " one 

* Calendar State Papers Am. and West Indies, 1574-1660, p. 483. Colonial 
Entry Book, xi. 12, CO. 31/1. 2 Besse, Sufferings, ii. ch. vi. 


whereof is war." A year earlier the Governor and Council had 
written to the home authorities that the weakness of the militia 
was due to the number of islanders with physical or mental defects, 
" in which quality we deem the Quakers." z Hence the reply to this 
declaration was a more severe Militia Act in 1675, which was re- 
inforced in 1677. The steady increase in fines was due partly to 
the fall in the price of sugar and partly to an increase in the efficiency 
of the militia, " there being," Besse says, " every month a general 
exercising in the island." Some brutal punishments are recorded. 
Young Richard Andrews, aged eighteen, was taken for the militia 
out of his master's shop. 2 He refused to bear arms, saying: " He 
durst not break Christ's command," and a few days later he was 
sent to a fort, and there one Sunday " tied neck and heels for an 
hour," beaten, and kept at the fort for a week, " his lodging being 
mostly on the cold stones." He came home ill and wretched, but 
a fortnight later he suffered the same punishment, " tied so strait 
that he could hardly speak," till even the soldiers pitied him. In 
a few days he was struck down by dysentery, and before his death 
he expressed " great satisfaction of mind for having stood faithful 
to his testimony against fighting." 

Charles had appointed a Committee for Trade and Plantations, 
a body which was to develop into the Colonial Office. To it in 1680 
Sir Jonathan Atkins, the Governor, more than once referred for 
instructions about his Quaker subjects. The Committee had advised 
him not to administer oaths to them, but to govern in some other 
way. " What that other way is," replied the poor Governor, " I 
am to seek. . . . To the great discontent of the people, to their 
own great ease and advantage, they neither will serve upon juries, 
find arms, or send to the militia, nor bear any office, shifting it off 
with their constant tricks ' they cannot swear,' when profit is the 
end they aim at. And the King's faithful and dutiful subjects are 
forced to bear their burden, when by an Act of Parliament of England 
they were proscribed . . . and condemned to be transported to 
this and other of his Majesty's Plantations foreign ; of which they 
have made so good use as to put themselves into a better condition 
than they could be elsewhere." Later in the year he repeated this 
complaint against " Anabaptists, Quakers, and other Dissenters." 3 

1 Col. Papers, xxx. 40, CO. 1. 2 Besse, ii. ch. vi. 

J Col. Entry Book, vi. 318 ; vii. 89-100, CO. 29/2 and 3. Calendar, iSyj- 
80, pp. 503-4. 


Even in smaller matters the knight was inconvenienced by Quaker 
scruples. On May 21, 1680, he told the Commissioners that he 
was sending to them a map of the island. " But I cannot much 
commend it to your Lordships. It cost the fellow a good sum of 
money to get it perfected, for he was forced to send it to London. 
But that it is true in all particulars I cannot affirm, but there is none 
here that ever undertook it but himself. He is a Quaker, as your 
Lordships may perceive by his not mentioning the churches, nor 
expressing the fortifications, of both of which they make great 
scruple." 1 

The reign of James II at first witnessed an increase of trouble 
for Barbadian Quakers. A Militia Act with even stiffer penalties 
was passed in 1685. The records of the Colonial Office and of the 
Meeting for Sufferings show that for some years there was a brisk 
correspondence on the matter between England and the colony. 
After a vain appeal to the Governor the Quakers twice petitioned 
the King, once before the new Act had received his signature, and 
again when it h?.d passed into law. They complained that the fines 
imposed showed undue discrimination against Quakers, and that 
the method of levy was changed. Up to this time the fine had always 
been in sugar, but now " the price being low, they levy their 
executions upon our most serviceable negroes, both men, women, 
and children, taking away, parting and selling husbands, wives, and 
children one from another, to the great grief, lamentation, and distrac- 
tion of our negro families." Cattle, too, and horses had been seized, 
and whereas in the towns formerly one member only of a household 
had been liable to service, now both master and apprentice were 
required to appear in arms. Hence Quaker tradesmen were forced 
to carry on their business without apprentices, and " the young 
people go off the island to their own hurt and parents' grief." 2 

Steady pressure on the Committee for Plantations by the Meeting 
for Sufferings (a deputation from which presented the Petition) 
and possibly Penn's influence with James induced both King and 
Committee to write to the island authorities. The Committee 
reminded them that "his Majesty, having lately extended his favour 
to those people here, may be inclined to continue the same towards 
them in this particular " and that the Governor should do his best 
to give them some ease. These are excellent sentiments in a docu- 

1 Col. Entry Booh, vii. 19, CO. 29/3. Calendar, 1677-80, p. 536. 
* Col. Papers, lvii. in, C.O. 1/59. Calendar, 1685-8, p. 208. 


ment whose first signatory is " Jeffrys, Chancellor." James himself 
wrote to the Governor that as he had already received the Declara- 
tion of Indulgence, he should put it into force towards Quakers 
both in respect of liberty of worship and of admission to office without 
an oath. " And in case any of them scruple or make difficulty to 
perform my service or take any employment upon them either civil 
or military, our will and pleasure is that no fine or fines be imposed 
upon them exceeding the usual value for the hire of another person 
to discharge the duty or service required." The Governor in reply 
made many professions of willingness to administer the Act with 
leniency, but there were " very few supernumerary people to be 
hired on the island." The Quakers themselves did not keep enough 
white servants ; in fact, the general tendency of all employers was 
to replace " Christians " by negroes, who were cheaper and more 
profitable. The prosperity of the Quakers was such that " they 
ought to make one regiment on the island," and the lack of this 
might prove a danger in time of war. 1 In spite of the Governor's 
promises, the Meeting for Sufferings received constant complaints 
of his severity. Even in March 1 689, when James was a fugitive, 
heavy fines were inflicted " in King James's name, but no notice 
taken of what he sent in favour of Friends there." The Meeting 
for Sufferings petitioned William and Mary, and the trouble must 
have ceased with the removal of the Jacobite governor, for in the 
autumn of 1690 Barbadian Friends sent 100 to the relief of the 
sufferers in Ireland. In 1693 the French war and fears of a negro 
rising led to the passing of an Act that all travellers in the island 
should ride armed. The Governor, as Friends wrote plaintively, 
" let the Militia Act loose upon them," vowing that he would hang 
all the Quakers at first sight of the French fleet. Some of his 
subordinates went beyond threats. A Quaker pleaded conscience 
as a reason for not bearing arms, and " the Major replied, ' God 
damn your conscience, if I cannot make your conscience bow, 
I'll make your stubborn dog's back to bend,' and so tied him neck 
and heels with his own hands in such a manner it almost deprived 
him of his life." 2 Quakers at home obtained letters of intercession 
from the Duke of Bedford and the Earl of Rochester to the Governor. 
These proved so effective that next year London Friends sent an 

1 Col. Entry Book, cviii. 286 ; vii. 379, 459, 463, CO. 391/5. Calendar, 
1685-8, pp. 213, 219, 477, 516. 

* Besse, ii. 351. Meeting for Sufferings, 1693. Barbadoes, 10th mo. 8. 


official letter of thanks to the same Governor for his " kindness " 
to their brethren. Another difficulty in 1696 (when Friends were 
ready to ride on patrol duty if they might go unarmed) was met 
in the same way by an application to Admiral Russell, whose brother 
was the recently appointed Governor, and this seems to have been 
the last trouble of the kind. Besse reprints the careful record compiled 
by Friends on the island of the distraints and fines (mainly for the 
militia) suffered by their small body. Between 1658 and 1690 the 
value of these fines in money and sugar amounted to 118,000. 
In the eighteenth century the number of Friends gradually dwindled 
away. The last letter received by the English Friends was in 1764 
from John Luke, and in it he writes that the only meeting regularly 
held, at Bridgetown, seldom numbered more than a dozen 
worshippers. 1 

Jamaica records also show a gradual tightening of the laws 
against Friends. A Proclamation of 1662 granted to them freedom 
of worship and trade, with the promise that they " shall not be 
forced in their own persons to bear arms, provided they shall 
contribute for the same," and also be prepared to reveal to 
the Governor any " foreign designs, invasions, conspiracies, or 
plots " that come to their knowledge. This compromise did not 
succeed, for two years later Sir Thomas Moddyford and his Council 
resolved that any Quaker " not appearing in the field at the several 
muster days should receive due punishment." But in 1668 it was 
necessary to pass a reasoned Ordinance " Whereas no Government 
can subsist " unless its subjects are willing to execute the military 
and civil duties assigned to them, and the Quakers' refusal " may 
prove, if many others should follow such evil example, the ruin 
and destruction of this Government," therefore, all recalcitrants 
are to be committed to gaol until they pay the due fine. In 1670 
Governor and Council had to own themselves beaten. " Whereas [a] 
few of the people called Quakers, living at Port Royal, have repre- 
sented to the Governor and Council that they cannot against their 
consciences bear arms and have given several reasons for the same, 
by which they seem to the Council very obstinate in that matter, 
and although the Governor and Council look on the said reasons 
as weak and frivolous, and on that opinion as dangerous and 
destructive to all government : yet, out of pity and compassion 
to those poor misled people in that particular " (and also to help the 

1 In D. Epistles Received. 


" gentlemen and merchants," who were ordered to guard the town 
every night in person) the Quakers were excused on condition of 
paying to the commander of the guards sufficient to hire three 
soldiers in each place. 1 

The fines cannot have been very strictly enforced. Besse only 
gives a few instances for a somewhat later period (1683-91) and 
the story of the maltreatment of one unfortunate, Peter Dashwood, 
who in 1687, for refusing military service, had twice "to ride the 
wooden horse with a musket at each leg." In the more northern 
group of the Leeward Islands, Friends also suffered for their faith. 
The Quakers' first visits to Nevis were between 1656 and 1658. 
Humphrey Highwood, who welcomed them and embraced their 
principles, was imprisoned for not warning the authorities of the 
arrival of these suspects. " In process of time," says Besse, " being 
more perfectly convinced of the doctrine by them professed, he 
declined to bear arms or to serve in the militia, things which he 
had not formerly scrupled to do," and in consequence he endured 
many imprisonments and fines. 3 In 1 67 1 two of the English Quakers 
who came with Fox to the West Indies, William Edmundson and 
Thomas Briggs, sailed to Nevis, but they were forbidden to land 
by the Governor, although the island Friends came on board ship 
for a meeting. The captain was forced to give j 1,000 security 
that he would take back the two Quakers at once to Antigua. 
William Edmundson, with his accustomed courage, told the authori- 
ties " it was very hard usage that we being Englishmen and coming 
so far as we had done to visit our countrymen, could not be admitted 
to come on shore, to refresh ourselves within King Charles's 
dominions after such a long voyage." Colonel Stapleton (Governor 
of Montserrat) said it was true. " But " (said he) " we hear that 
since your coming to the Caribbee Islands there are seven hundred 
of our militia turned Quakers, and the Quakers will not fight, 
and we have need of men to fight, being surrounded with enemies, 
and that is the very reason why Governor Wheeler will not suffer 
you to land. "3 Even these quarantine measures could not check 
the spread of Quakerism, and in the next few years imprisonments 
were frequent. In 1674 ten Quakers sent from gaol a touching 
letter to the Governor. " It is now twelve days since we were confined 

1 Col. Entry Boohs, xxxiv. 53-60, 126, 180, 203, CO. 140/1. Calendar, 
1661-8, pp. in, 287, 597; 1669-74, p. 84. * Besse, ii. 352. 

3 Journal of the Life . . . of William Edmundson, p. 55. Besse, ii. 353. 


here, and there are some of us who have wives and children, and 
have nothing to maintain them but our labours. Now, General, 
the reason why we are thus imprisoned we do not well understand, 
unless for keeping the commandment of Christ, which we dare 
not disobey, for here we do declare that it is not of stubbornness 
nor of wilfulness, but in obedience of Christ Jesus. . . . We desire 
that He would order thy heart that thou mightest discern betwixt 
us, who are in scorn called Quakers, a peaceable people, who fear 
God and make conscience of our ways, and those who run wilfully 
on their own heads and disobey thee." 1 The Governor relented, 
for these men were released within a week, and next year there 
was some attempt at a compromise, if we may judge from a letter 
of George Fox. The Epistle " to Friends at Nevis and the Caribbee 
Islands concerning Watching " 2 was sent from Swarthmore Hall 
in November 1675. Fox mentions that he was unwell at the time, 
and the letter is confused with many repetitions, but its importance 
is sufficient to justify a full summary here. He had heard that there 
was " some scruple concerning watching, or sending forth watchmen 
in your own way," that is, unarmed, and possibly also not under 
military command. Fox is not inclined to uphold this scruple. 
" It is a great mercy of the Lord to subject the Governor's mind 
so much by his power and truth that he will permit you to watch 
in your own way, without carrying arms, which is a very civil thing, 
and to be taken notice of." Friends in Jamaica and Barbadoes would 
welcome such a concession, and indeed they had offered to watch 
" against the Spaniards," but because they refused to bear arms 
they had been severely punished and fined. Fox adds, " So where 
Friends has the Government, as in Rhode Island, . . . Friends 
was willing to watch in their own way, and they made a law that 
none should be compelled to take arms."3 Friends, he continues, 
watch in their plantations against robbers, and they have no scruples 
concerning the town watch against housebreakers and fire-raisers. 
They even go before the magistrates about the wrongs they have 
suffered. " You are not to be the revenger, but he is the revenger ; 
... we must be subject to that power, and own that power, not 
only for wrath, but for conscience' sake ; which is for the punish- 
ment of the evildoers and the praise of them that do well. For 

1 Besse, ii. 353. 

2 Epistles, No. 319. The letter was approved by the Six Weeks Meeting. 

3 Vide ch. xiii. p. 331. 


] if any should come to burn your house or rob you, or come to 
ravish your wives and daughters, or a company should come to fire 
a city or town, or come to kill people ; don't you watch against all 
such actions ? And won't you watch against such evil things in the 
power of God in your own way ? You cannot but discover such 
things to the magistrates, who are to punish such things . . . and 
if he does it not, he bears the sword in vain." " You know," he adds, 
" that masters of ships, and Friends, have their watches all night 
long, and they watch to preserve the ship, and to prevent any enemy 
or hurts that might come to the ship by passengers or otherwise." 
Here Fox quotes some New Testament passages concerning watching, 
and then quaintly spiritualizes them. " So here is the goodman 
watching against sin and evil without, and the spoiler and thief with- 
out . . . and here is also a watching against sin and evil within, and a 
waiting to receive Christ at His coming. And as there is a shutting 
the outward doors to keep out the murderers and the thieves, and 
a bolting and locking of them out, so there is a shutting up and 
locking the doors of the heart." Therefore, if Indians come, " let 
them come from home or come from abroad," it is the duty of 
Friends to watch. "Neither judge one another about such things, 
but live in love which doth edify." 

It is clear that Fox in his peaceable English county, far enough 
even from the Dutch guns which ten years before had echoed up 
the Thames, did not realize the atmosphere of war and alarms amid 
which Friends lived in the West Indies. Or, if he realized it, he 
did not face the difficulty. It was not the only time in the history 
of the Society that the " unplumb'd, salt, estranging sea " of the 
Atlantic bred misunderstanding or want of sympathy. The West 
Indian Friends knew from their own experience of the barbarous 
revenge the white man was wont to take in answer to the barbarous 
cruelties of Indian attack or negro rising. It was not the actual 
advice given by Fox, but his commentary upon it, which seemed 
to open the way to an almost unlimited share by Friends in services 
auxiliary to war. Curiously enough, with the exception of another 
time of difficulty in the West Indies, to be mentioned later, this 
Epistle has seldom been used as a weapon of argument in the 
perennial controversy between Friends and the military authority. 
If the Nevis Quakers followed the advice of Fox, apparently the 
compromise was not accepted. A few months later Governor 
Stapleton reported to the Committee at home that " the Quakers' 


singularity and obstinancy have given me more trouble than any 
others. Not contenting themselves with a peaceable enjoyment 
of what they profess in their families, as others are well satisfied 
therewith, the Quakers do meet, and have once disturbed a minister, 
for which they were imprisoned and fined by due course of law, 
since [then] they have been quiet. They will neither watch nor 
ward, not so much as against the Carib Indians, whose secret, 
treacherous, and most barbarous inroads, committing murders, 
rapes, and all other enormities, discourages the planters in the 
Leeward Islands more than any one thing, knowing how they 
have been made use of in the last war by our neighbours." 1 

There were, in fact, sixteen Quakers imprisoned on account 
of the militia in 1676, and the year 1677 saw the passage of an Act 
to prevent the landing of Quakers on the island, " that are not satis- 
fied with the enjoyment of the liberty of their conscience and of 
his Majesty's laws, but are daily seducing others of the King's subjects 
from their allegiance, by persuading them not to bear arms for the 
defence of the rights of his Majesty and subjects, contrary to all 
laws." The Friends indignantly replied that they were loyal subjects, 
and never seduced any from allegiance. " But if any are convicted 
by the Spirit of God in their own hearts, that fighting with any 
carnal weapon to the destroying of any man, although their 
greatest enemy, be sin, then to him it is sin, if he do it." 2 Next 
year " Friends at Nevis in America " (sic) wrote an account of 
their troubles to the Meeting for Sufferings, and simultaneously 
the Governor bewailed to the Committee for Plantations the 
defenceless state of the islands. While the Spaniards protected their 
possessions with a squadron of thirteen ships of war, at Nevis, " for 
naval strength, there is nothing but the Quaker ketch," and even 
that in a few weeks' time had sailed for home. It is not clear whether 
the Quaker boat had been commandeered by Government from 
its original owners, or whether Colonel Stapleton intended to seize 
and arm it in case of need. But after this date there are few records 
of fine or imprisonment. Either succeeding Governors proved more 
lenient, or the majority of eligible Quakers had left the island. 
Antigua was captured by the French in 1664. The commander 
forced the inhabitants to take an oath of allegiance to Louis XIV, 
under threat of deporting the men, and leaving their families to the 

1 Col. Entry Book, xlvi. 185. Cal., 1675-6, p. 502. 
a Besse, ii. 362-3. 


mercy of the Indian. There were four Quaker householders on the 
island, and these men refused to swear. The English Governor, 
Colonel Buckley, who had himself taken the oath argued with them, 
" but they stood firm, saying they could not swear, what suffering 
so ever might follow." At length the French Governor himself 
came to them and said, " I believe you are honest men, and if you 
will promise not to fight against the King my master, during this 
war, I will take your words." To which one of them replied : 
" We desire to be rightly understood in this our promise, for we 
can freely promise not to fight against the King of France nor for 
him ; nor indeed against the King of England, nor for him ; for 
we can act no more for the one than the other in matters of war. 
Only, as the King of England is our natural prince, we must own 
allegiance to him." l The Governor was satisfied by this explanation, 
but when Antigua was restored to the English at the peace of Breda, 
in 1667, Friends again endured the familiar round of fines, imprison- 
ment, and even beatings. A certain Colonel Mallet was the chief 
persecutor, going to such lengths that at times the Governor inter- 
vened. On one occasion, when he was trying to force some 
Quakers to perform drill, his lieutenant refused to assist him, 
saying that he could not judge of a man's conscience, and was 
unwilling to meddle with them. Bermudian Quakers, also, in this 
Restoration period, suffered under the local Militia Acts. But after 
1688, as the British possessions gradually settled under the Protestant 
Succession, Friends in the West Indies enjoyed greater liberty of 

Yet the islands can never have proved a very congenial home 
for them. The journals of Thomas Story and Thomas Chalkley, 
both well-known Quaker ministers, draw lively pictures of the 
danger and excitement of a voyage in the West Indies during the 
early eighteenth century. In 1709, after four false alarms of French 
privateers, 2 the vessel in which Story was returning from Jamaica 
to America, was actually captured and taken to Hispaniola, where 
Story, with the help of his schoolboy Latin, was able to hold friendly 

1 Besse, ii. 370 foil. 

J On the voyage from Antigua to Barbadoes the Captain at sight of a suspicious 
vessel " made ready for defence ; having twelve men, thirty guns, and suitable 
ammunition. They knew I would not be active in such defence, but desired me 
to keep with the doctor and make him what help I could, if any should be wounded, 
which I was very free to have done." Night fell, however, and they lost sight 
of the other ship. 


intercourse with the French officials and a Jesuit priest. The latter, 
" a good old man," even devoted a Sunday sermon to the Quakers, 
saying (as it was reported to Story) " that we were an innocent 
religious people, differing in many points, both of doctrine and 
practice, from all other Protestants, and seemed to have a right 
faith in Christ ; only we seemed too diffident concerning the Saints, 
our duty to them, the Church's power, and the like. But, in the 
end, exhorted his people to keep firm in their own religion, and, 
as this people were thus cast among them, to show their Christianity 
and respect to them. And so they generally did, more than could 
have been expected ; and several of them said, though too lightly, 
' The Quaker preacher had converted their minister.' " 

The French Governor, Le Sieur de Laurens, invited Story 
to Sunday evening supper at his house and listened with great interest 
to an account of Pennsylvania, wishing for peace and an opportunity 
to visit the State. The wish moved Story to a short discourse on 
peace and war, well fortified with New Testament quotations. 
The Governor answered that " it was not they that desired the war, 
for they were generally much hurt by it, but the King, and that 
as God had set a king over them, they were bound in conscience 
to obey him ; who was answerable for all the evil, if any, and not 
they." This theory of passive obedience reminded Story of the 
doctrine preached in England in a " former reign." He met it with 
a reference to Nebuchadnezzar and his Hebrew ministers, but 
the Governor replied, " That was a heathen King, who commanded 
idolatry, but ours a Christian, and gave only Christian commands, 
so ought to be obeyed." To this Story made the obvious retort 
that the Christianity of the command depended rather on its character 
than on the religion of the King. The Huguenots, for example, 
had felt it a Christian duty to resist his laws " to the loss and sacrifice 
of many of their lives, and others were fled, and many thousands 
of them in the Queen of Great Britain's dominions to the great 
depopulating and weakening of his kingdom." The Governor bore 
no malice for this home thrust, but admitted that liberty of conscience 
was " no unreasonable thing," and showed his Quaker guest the Con- 
fessions of St. Augustine and the Imitation of Christ, in both of which 
Story found " many good sayings." Eventually the Englishmen were 
taken by the privateers to Martinique and Guadaloupe. There they 
were freed under a flag of truce after about three months' captivity. 1 
1 Life of Thomas Story, 1747, pp. 441 foil. 


Thomas Chalkley made several visits to the West Indies, 
showing himself as true to his peace principles there as in 
Pennsylvania. In 1707, while the Quaker-owned ship in which 
he travelled was being chased off Barbadoes by a French privateer, 
the seamen " cursed the Quakers, wishing all their vessels might 
be taken by the enemy, because they did not carry guns in them : 
at which I was grieved and began to expostulate with them : ' Do 
you know the worth of a man's life ? ' ' Lives ! ' said they, ' we 
had rather lose our lives than go to France.' ' But,' said I, ' that 
is not the matter : had you rather go to hell than go to France ? ' 
They, being guilty of great sins and wickedness, and convicted 
in their own consciences, held their peace, and said no more about 
the poor Quakers." r 

Later, in a similar strait off Jamaica, this time on an armed 
vessel, Chalkley was jeeringly asked what he thought of Quaker 
principles now. He quietly replied that he was as willing to go to 
heaven as his questioners, and that he would pray for the souls of 
the crew. In the midst of the noise and hurry he prayed earnestly 
for a favourable wind, " that we might be delivered from the enemy 
without shedding blood." The wind did change, and they sped far 
out of sight of the privateer. 

Twenty years afterwards, when he visited Barbadoes, he met 
an old acquaintance, not a Friend, who reminded him of a peace 
argument on his former visit. After Chalkley had given " Love 
enemies " and other Scriptural grounds for his own belief and 
practice, his hearer had asked " If one came to kill you, would you 
not kill rather than be killed ? " I told him, " No j so far as I knew 
my own heart I had rather be killed than kill." He said, " That 
was strange," and desired to know what reason I could give for it. 
I told him, " that I being innocent, if I were killed in my body, 
my soul might be happy ; but if I killed him, he dying in his wicked- 
ness would consequently be unhappy ; and if I were killed, he might 
live to repent ; but if I killed him, he would have no time to repent, 
So that, if he killed me, I should have much the better, both in respect 
of myself and to him." This reasoning, which is entirely character- 
istic of Chalkley, and has been amplified at times by later Friends,* 
made a deep impression on the listener, who, as he now told the 
Quaker, as a result left off the sword he wore " and his business also,* 

1 Chalkley, Works, p. 55. 

3 Vide the reply of Joseph Hoag to the American General, p. 419. 



which was presumably connected with weapons of war. " When 
we parted," Chalkley writes, " we embraced each other in 
open arms of Christian love, far from that which would hurt or 
destroy." 1 

On another visit in 1734 Chalkley lodged with a Dutchman 
at St. John's. His two sons had lately been killed in a negro rising, 
" for which their mother and sisters were in bitter mourning," and 
Chalkley was filled with silent horror at " the bloodshed and vast 
destitution which war makes in the world." 2 

Even in the early part of the eighteenth century, however, 
the number of Friends in the West Indies had much diminished. 
The story of their decline can be traced through the bulky 
manuscript volumes of Epistles Sent and Epistles Received^ 
which contain the annual intercourse between London Yearly 
Meeting (or its permanent Committee, the Meeting for Sufferings) 
and the brethren across the seas. From Bermuda in 1703 John 
Richardson wrote " there is few Friends here, but two men," 
and the last letter from Jamaica in 1708 also bewails their small 
number. In 17056 Antigua sent a vivid account of the alarm of 
a French fleet, which passed them by, but cruelly ravaged Nevis 
and St. Kitts, and in 1707 the few Friends left on Nevis wrote a 
last letter to London in grateful acknowledgment for gifts in relief 
of " our great suffering by the French." Letters on both sides in 
those unsettled days often miscarried, and the isolated Friends had 
a hard struggle. Misfortunes in trade and moral delinquencies 
brought scandal at times upon the Society, particularly in Tortola, 
whence the final Epistle in 1763 reaches the depths of gloom. For 
many years Barbadoes remained the chief centre of the Society 
and was even prosperous enough to send at times substantial contribu- 
tions to the charitable funds administered by English or Pennsyl- 
vanian Friends. The attraction of the mainland amid the troubles 
of continuous wars seems to have proved irresistible. A great drought 
in 17 1 3, and epidemics of smallpox and yellow fever also played 
their part in driving Friends away from the West Indies. The 
Society in Antigua, during its last days, passed through one crisis 
which developed out of the perennial difficulty in reconciling the 
claims of the State with the Quaker interpretation of the teachings 
of Christianity. The appearance of the French fleet in 1705 had 
evidently frightened the authorities of the island into active prepara- 
1 Chalkley, Works, p. 207. Ibid., p. 265. 


tions for defence, but they honestly tried to respect the scruples 
of Friends by assigning them not to direct service in the militia, 
but to subsidiary work. Hereupon there arose a division of opinion 
in the Society. The older Friends, remembering bygone days of 
persecution, advised the acceptance of this compromise, while some 
young men declared that the work was inconsistent with their 
principles. Another difficulty concerned the payment of a church 
rate included in the general poor rate, and the dispute was so sharp 
that in 1708 two Epistles to London crossed the Atlantic, one signed 
by the Clerk of the Meeting, Jonas Langford, and the other by 
the dissentient young men Friends. 1 

The official document sets forth that the alternative service 
offered to Friends, in view of bearing arms or building forts, was 
" the public service of the island, that is to say, building of watch- 
houses, clearing common roads, making bridges, digging ponds. 
. . . Also they are willing to accept of us without arms only 
appearing at their training place, and also that we should go 
messages from place to place in the island, in case of danger by an 
enemy. These things they require of us, and we have performed 
them, for which we have been excused from bearing arms." But 
now these young Friends say that such work is " all one " with 
actual military service. The same kind of scruple had arisen a genera- 
tion before, when Friends hesitated about " planting potatoes for 
them that watched and builded the forts," and the matter was 
referred to " dear George Fox and the Meeting in London for 
advice . . . and their advice was they were innocent things and 
might be safely done." It was on this occasion that Fox sent his 
letter to Nevis Friends, to which Langford and his party have referred 
for guidance. In any case (they conclude, after explaining the 
poor-rate dilemma) they would welcome a ruling from London, 
as these scruples have produced more strife and contention in the 
Meeting than has been known in the past forty years. 

The Epistle from the younger Friends, which follows, is a 
remarkable and interesting declaration. They, too, they explain, 
would welcome a decision on these points, which to them are matters 
of conscience. They then state very clearly the actual nature of the 
" public service " imposed on them. 

" Whereas it is often ordered by the Government that fortifica- 
tions are to be built, for the accomplishments whereof ponds for 
In D. Epistles Received, ii. 65 foil. 


holding water (for the use of these persons who defend these places 
and inhabit them) are also to be dug, now the same Friends do think 
that if the Government will excuse them from carrying of great 
guns to these places, and digging of trenches, building of bulwarks, 
and such warlike things, and instead thereof employ them in digging 
these ponds, building of bridges, repairing of highways, building 
of guard-houses, and such things, they can freely do them, yet we 
do think that in such a case to dig ponds or the like to be excused 
from carrying of guns, etc., is not bearing a faithful testimony against 
such things, but below the nobility of that holy principle whereof 
we make profession, and (at best) but doing a lawful thing upon an 
unlawful account and bottom. Yet we are very willing to dig ponds, 
repair highways, and build bridges, or such convenient things when 
they are done for the general service of the island and other people 
at work therein equal with us, and not to balance those things which 
for conscience' sake we cannot do.' , 

On the question of appearing unarmed at the militia muster, 
one Monthly Meeting has agreed with them that the practice is 
inconsistent with Friends' principles. " And as concerning alarms 
or invasion of an enemy, we are free to give notice to the magistrate 
of any approaching danger or be serviceable as far as we can at such 
times, in going to see what vessels may be off or giving them informa- 
tion in such things, though as to carrying of permits for vessels of war 
* quietly to pass ' such and such forts, when we are sensible their 
commissions are to kill, sink, burn, and destroy the enemy, we are 
scrupulous and not free in that case. And as concerning watching, 
we are free to do it in our own way, " that is, unarmed, as Fox had 
recommended to the Friends of Nevis. The signatures to the letter 
are "John Brennan, John Darlow, junior, Henry Hodge, William 
Haige, John Butler, John Fallowfield." 

The answer returned by the Meeting for Sufferings in 1709 l 
is instinct with that spirit of timidity and caution, combined with 
a genuine loyalty to the tolerant English Government, which marked 
Quaker leadership in the first half of the eighteenth century. The 
writer (possibly John Askew, who is the first name among the 
signatures) barely mentions the receipt of the young Friends' letter, 
while he speaks warmly of " our ancient worthy Friend Jonas 
Langford." A wish that " condescension in the spirit of love " may 
reconcile the disputants, is followed by approval of " the intentions 

1 In D. Epistles Sent, ii. 122. 


of love and favour granted by the magistrates " of Antigua. In its 
view of what military works are possible for the Quaker conscience 
the Epistle goes beyond the concessions of the elder Antiguan Friends. 
" As for digging ditches and trenches and making walls, they are 
of like use with doors, locks, bolts, and pales, to keep out bloody 
wicked and destructive men and beasts ; and to give warning and to 
awake our neighbours by messengers or otherwise to prevent their 
being destroyed, robbed, or burnt, doubtless is as we would desire 
should in the like nature be done and performed to us." 

The most serious feature of the Epistle is its general inaccuracy 
of reference. It gives in inverted commas, as if a direct quotation, 
a summary of Fox's Nevis letter, which, whether intentionally or 
not, almost stiffens it into an argument for military defence against 
attack, and while referring to the services rendered by Seller and 
other pressed Friends in naval battles, omits to describe their stead- 
fast resistance to any compromise of principle. An account of the 
help given by Hornould in rowing, when the boat in which he was 
passenger escaped an enemy ship, ends : " the relation whereof the 
Friend gave in our Yearly Meeting and was well liked by Friends." 
There is no hint that the " relation " included an account of the 
peace meeting which Hornould held with the crew and his fellow 
passengers. 1 It should be Friends' aim to show themselves to 
Governors and magistrates, not as " a self-willed and stubborn 
people," but ready to do the will of the authorities in anything 
" that is not an evil in its own nature, but service and benefit to 
our neighbours." 

The question of the poor rate is handled with greater sympathy, 
possibly because the same dilemma was already pressing upon them 
in England. Among the names appended to this temporizing docu- 
ment are those of George Whitehead and of Fox's son-in-law, Thomas 
Lower. How the advice was received in Antigua cannot be known, 
for intercourse seems to have been broken off for some reason, and 
the next letter from the island is dated 1718. In it John Brennan 
wrote sadly of " a poor handful of people dispersed in a dark and 
barren island." Smallpox and the great drought had driven Friends 
away, among them Henry Hodge and his family to Pennsylvania, 
and William Hague and his family to Carolina. Ten years later 
the few remaining Friends " are inclinable to leave this island 
on account of the sickliness of the place," and after 1728 London 

1 Ante, p. 179-80. 



hears no more from Antigua. If the Quaker records of the island 
had been preserved, we might have known whether the conscientious 
objectors agreed to work on " trenches and bulwarks," or whether 
it was a recurrence of the old difficulty that drove Henry Hodge 
and William Hague from their homes. 



The first Quaker visitors to America were the two women, Mary 
Fisher and Ann Austin, who came in 1656 to Barbadoes and 
thence to Boston. The Puritan officials and ministers, who had 
already heard ill reports from England of the new movement, 
seized the women, imprisoned them under the harshest conditions 
for five weeks, burned their books by the public hangman, and at 
last shipped them back to Barbadoes. In spite of this welcome and the 
most stringent laws against the entrance of Quakers to Massachu- 
setts, they continued to come and to suffer under the " new 
Inquisition," as it was bitterly called by Fox and others, until in the 
years 1659 and 1660 three men and one woman were hanged under 
a law recently passed, making it a capital offence for Quakers once 
banished to return to the colony. Edward Burrough and other 
English Friends appealed to Charles II to stop this "vein of 
innocent blood." In response he issued an order to the Governor 
of Massachusetts, under which many Friends were released from 
prison, and one saved from the death sentence. It was not until 
1 68 1, however, that the savage laws against Quakers were formally 
suspended. Massachusetts was their cruellest persecutor, but in the 
other Puritan colonies, in aristocratic Virginia, and even in tolerant 
Maryland, they were almost as unwelcome. The Dutch colonies 
of the New Netherlands also promulgated harsh laws against them, 
until in 1663 the colonial officials were rebuked by a wise and far- 
sighted letter from the Directors of the West India Company in 
Amsterdam. In this they reminded their deputies that Holland's 
tradition of religious liberty had made her a refuge for all nationalities 
and that her colonies should follow the same path. " The consciences 
of men, at least, ought ever to remain free and unshackled." There 
was little opportunity to try the new policy, for in 1664 the colony 


passed into English hands as the provinces of New York and New 
Jersey. In spite of hostile legislation, Quakerism made its way. 
During Charles IPs reign Meetings were settled in all these colonies, 
and before the end of the seventeenth century the organization 
into Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Meetings was fully adopted. 1 

In one colony Friends found not merely tolerance, but a congenial 
home. Rhode Island, both on the mainland and on the island itself, 
was tenanted by exiles for conscience' sake, who founded their 
settlements on principles of absolute religious freedom. Roger 
Williams, driven in 1635 from Salem for preaching against persecu- 
tion, established Providence to be " a shelter for persons of distressed 
conscience." Two years later a settlement was founded on the 
island of " Aquiday " (now Rhode Island) by the so-called 
" Antinomians " or " Hutchinsonians," who had revolted against 
the strict Calvinism of New England, and as they gradually formed 
an organized Government, the assembly of citizens in 1641 passed 
the memorable law " that none be accounted a delinquent for 
doctrine." Roger Williams, though the enemy of all persecution, 
was no friend to Quaker doctrine, but some of the settlers seem, 
even thus early, to have held views very near to those preached 
later by Fox and his followers. They " would not wear any arms," 
opposed an ordained ministry, and in Portsmouth, at least, met 
together to " teach one another, and call it prophesie." 3 

When, in 1657, a small band of English Quakers visited the 
island, these men and women accepted their teaching at once, and 
many of the leading citizens of the colony were among its first 
Quakers. From the New England authorities came requests that 
Rhode Island should follow their example and stamp out the 
contagion of the new doctrines, but both Governor and Assembly 
steadily refused to violate liberty of conscience. " Freedom of different 
consciences," the Assembly stated in its reply, " was the principal 
ground of our charter." If the Quakers should refuse to submit 
to the duties required of citizens, " as training, watching, and such 
other engagements as are upon members of civil societies, for the 
preservation of the same in justice and peace," then the Assembly 

1 Rhode Island Yearly Meeting, 1661 (later New England Yearly Meeting) ; 
Baltimore Yearly Meeting, 1672 ; Virginia Yearly Meeting, 1673 ; Burlington 
(New Jersey) Yearly Meeting, 168 1 (later Philadelphia Yearly Meeting) ; New 
York Yearly Meeting, 1696 ; North Carolina Yearly Meeting, 1698. 

Vide authorities quoted in Rufus Jones, Quakers in the American Colonies, 
pp. 21-5. 


would refer for advice to the " supreme authority in England," 
by whom, they understood, the sect had been tolerated. This was 
a rebuff to New England, which was forced to watch the hated 
people growing in power, and even holding high office in Rhode 
Island. A Quaker was first chosen Governor in 1672, after which 
for many years the control of the colony was in Quaker hands. 

In 1674 the proprietors of New Jersey sold half of that colony, 
afterwards known as West New Jersey, to two Friends who soon 
transferred it to William Penn and others of the Society. The new 
proprietors drew up a constitution which ensured full liberty of 
conscience, and, as Penn said, " put the power in the people." 
There was a definite intention that this thinly populated province 
should prove a new home for persecuted Quakers from England. 
The proprietors did all in their power to encourage emigration, 
and before 1681 fourteen hundred Friends had settled there. In 1680 
East Jersey was for sale, and was purchased by Penn and other 
Friends, who included Robert Barclay, and some leading 
Scots. The latter were anxious to find a place of refuge for 
the persecuted Covenanters, and this division of the province was 
less markedly Quaker than West Jersey. In 1702 the proprietors 
surrendered the government of the united colony to Queen Anne. 
In the decade between 1670 and 1680 Carolina was twice visited 
by William Edmundson and once by George Fox. Among its 
scattered settlers there was little religious organization ; they welcomed 
the teaching of these travelling missionaries, and before long Meetings 
were established. A Friend, John Archdale, played an important 
part as Governor of the Colony. Lastly, in 1681, the Royal grant 
of Pennsylvania and the " counties upon Delaware " (the modern 
State) to William Penn gave him a better opportunity than he had 
had in the Jerseys for his " holy experiment " of a Quaker Common- 

From this brief summary it will be seen how the position of 
Friends varied in the several colonies, from a persecuted minority 
in some to a powerful majority in others. Where they were in a 
minority, they suffered for their refusal of military service as they did 
for other nonconformity to the practices of the society which sur- 
rounded them. It was, no doubt, partly this refusal which for so 
long shut out the Quakers in New England from all exercise of the 
franchise or holding of public office. The current of policy at home 
in England at times embroiled the provinces in war with their French 


or Dutch neighbours, while in the debatable land between Indian 
settlements and colonial outposts the fires of savage warfare ever 
smouldered. These spasmodic outbreaks of war were always the 
signal for the enforcement of fines and imprisonments upon the 
Quakers, who would neither train nor fight ; in the intervals of 
peace the punitive clauses of the militia laws were sometimes allowed 
to lie unused. 

In the provinces where Friends had political power, their trials 
were of a different character. There was no question of persecution 
for the holder of conscientious scruples against war, the problem 
was rather that of the limits of compromise how far one part 
of the British dominions was bound to shape its policy in accordance 
with that of sister colonies or of the home Government, and how 
far a Quaker Government must conform to a demand for war 

In Rhode Island this latter difficulty was raised in an acute 
form, since there Quakerism as the predominant form of belief 
was grafted upon the existing Government, and many of its chief 
officers joined the Society. The result was that the individual Quaker 
conscience was unmolested, and that the Quaker influence in the 
administration and Assembly was always exerted on the side of peace, 
but that, when military preparations were imposed upon them by 
the demands of the home Government, a Quaker, if he happened to 
be Governor, did not refuse to take such steps. This compliance was 
the price which they paid for the charter granted in 1663. It was 
not a very dignified or consistent position, and it gradually became 
untenable, but the frequent re-election of Quaker Governors shows 
that the citizens on the whole were not dissatisfied. Nicholas Easton, 
one of the original " Hutchinsonians," who became a Friend about 
1657, was first Deputy-Governor and then Governor in the years 
between 1666 and 1674, a period which covered the two wars 
between England and Holland. 

Rhode Island was uncomfortably near New York, and it was 
feared that the Dutch (during their brief re-conquest in 1673) 
would stir up Indian tribes against the settlements in the mainland. 
Both in 1672 and 1673 the Quaker Governor and his mainly 
Quaker Council passed Acts, in obedience to orders from England, 
putting the colony into " a posture of defence." These were 
followed by a law making provision for the support of maimed 
soldiers, and those " whose dependency was on such as are slain," 


and another for the relief of the conscientious objector the first 
of its kind. Much of this Act of 1673 is a long statement of the 
scriptural and other arguments against war, which comes oddly 
from men busied with military preparations. As the inhabitants 
of the colony stand for liberty of conscience, they must needs forbear 
" to compel their equal neighbours against their consciences to train 
to fight and to kill." The crucial paragraph reads as follows : 

" Be it therefore enacted, and hereby it is enacted by his 
Majesty's authority, that no person (within this colony) that is or 
hereafter shall be persuaded in his conscience that he cannot or 
ought not to train, to learn to fight, nor to war, nor kill any person 
or persons, shall at any time be compelled against his judgment 
and conscience to train, arm, or fight, to kill any person or persons 
by reason of or at the command of any officer in this colony, civil 
nor military, nor by reason of any by-law here past or formerly 
enacted ; nor shall suffer any punishment, fine, distraint penalty, 
nor imprisonment, who cannot in conscience train, fight, nor kill 
any person nor persons for the aforesaid reasons." But the exempted 
were not to be idle. Another clause empowered the magistrate 
to require of them civil duties, sucn as the evacuation of the sick 
and aged and valuable property from threatened districts, the 
keeping watch and ward unarmed, and similar pieces of work. 1 

All other militia laws, even in the Revolution, exempted Friends, 
with the exception of one passed in 1677 under a reaction from 
Quaker government, which stated that " some under pretence of 
conscience hath taken liberty to act contrary, and make void the 
power, strength, and authority of the military, so necessary to be 
maintained." The warlike party, however, only held office for 
a year, and thereafter until 1685 the power was continuously in 
Quaker hands. The cause of the reaction had been the sufferings 
of the colonists on the mainland round Narragansett Bay, during 
" King Philip's War," the fierce Indian rising which terrified 
New England from 1675 to 1677. " Left to themselves the Rhode 
Island colonists could have maintained peace, for their Indian policy 
was wise, humane, and enlightened, and gained for them the 
confidence and love of their Indian neighbours." 3 But, in addition 
to the inevitable discontent engendered as the white men's settle- 

*& v 

1 'Rhode Island Colony Records, ii. 495 ; see also Arnold, History of Rhode 

2 Jones, Quakers in the American Colonies, p. 175. 


ments expanded over the Indian territories, acts of real injustice 
and the treatment of the Indians as an inferior race by the New 
England settlers had inflamed their proud and revengeful tempers. 
Nevertheless, the Rhode Island Government, while disclaiming 
all responsibility for the war, made an effort to avert it. John Easton, 
the Deputy- Governor, son of Nicholas Easton, and four other 
Quakers, came unarmed to the quarters of " King Philip," the great 
Indian chief, on Narragansett Bay, and spent a day pleading with 
him and his warrior council for a settlement. 1 The Indians gave 
them a catalogue of their grievances against the English, such as 
the unrestricted sale of spirits, and the rejection of Indian evidence 
in cases where the white man was the aggressor. " We told them 
that our desire was that the quarrel might be rightly decided in the 
best way, not as dogs decide their quarrels. . . . They owned 
that fighting was the worst way, but they inquired how right might 
take place without fighting. We said by arbitration. They said 
that by arbitration the English agreed against them, and by arbitra- 
tion they had much wrong. 

"... We said they might choose an Indian king, and the 
English might choose the Governor of New York ; that neither 
had cause to say that either were parties to the difference. They 
said they had not heard of this way. We were persuaded that if 
this way had been tendered, they would have accepted." But the 
deputation from Rhode Island could not satisfy the Indians that 
the rest of New England was willing to adopt such a course, and 
there was no result from the visit except an assurance by the Indians 
of their friendly feeling towards the Island. A few days afterwards, 
June 1675, war broke out. The Rhode Island Government took 
up the attitude that it was an unjust and unnecessary conflict for 
which they were in no way responsible. They refused to assist the 
other colonies, or even at first to send an armed force to their own 
settlements on the mainland ; but urged the inhabitants of those 
towns to take refuge on the island, where they would be supported 
during the war. The other New England Governments had joined 
in a " compact " to crush the Indian menace, and bitterly reproached 
Rhode Island for holding aloof. When the war was over, the 
General Court of Plymouth sent home a complaint to Charles II. 
" The truth is the authorities of Rhode Island, being all the time 
of the war in the hands of the Quakers, they scarcely showed an 

1 Narrative of Easton quoted in Quakers in the American Colonies, pp. 182-3. 


English spirit either in assisting us their distressed neighbours or 
relieving their own plantations on the main. But when by God's 
blessing upon our forces the enemy was routed and almost subdued, 
they took in many of our enemies that were flying before us, thereby 
making profit of our expense of blood and treasure." 1 

What " profit " the Rhode Islanders made is not clear, for while 
some of the Indian leaders were court-martialled and shot at New- 
port, the Assembly refused to sell the other captive Indians on their 
territory into life-long slavery, which was the policy of the other 
colonies towards those whose lives were spared. 2 One real service 
was rendered by the Rhode Island authorities to the Colonial troops. 
After a bloody battle on Narragansett Bay, in the winter of 1675, 
the colonial wounded, one hundred and fifty, were brought across 
to the island, where Governor Coddington, a Friend, made 
arrangements for their treatment, although some " churlish Quakers " 
objected even to this connection with the war. 3 This encouraged 
the New England authorities to ask again for military help. 
Coddington replied in a short letter and a long " postscript." The 
letter ran thus : 

" The Governor and Council of the Massachusetts and 
Committee of the United Colonies writing to us do give us thanks 
for transporting their soldiers and provisions, and that sloops trans- 
ported their wounded, and desired us to let out a hundred or two 
hundred soldiers, we answered you denying so to do, and gave you 
our grounds." 

The postscript calls attention to a recent " day of humiliation " 
in Boston for the sins which had called down the war upon the 
colonists. One was, the neglect to suppress the Quakers and their 
meetings, and " a law was simultaneously passed imposing a fine 
of five pounds upon every person who should attend a Quaker 
Meeting, with imprisonment at hard labour upon bread and water."4 
No wonder that the Quaker Governor of the colony where none 
was " accounted a delinquent for doctrine " commented : 

1 Colonial Papers, xli. 16. CO. i. 41. Calendar of State Papers {Colonial), 
1677-80, p. 115. 

1 Kelsey, Friends and the Indians, p. 56. By a vote of the Assembly in 1676, 
indentured Indian labour for a term of years and under various restrictions was 
sanctioned " as if they had been countrymen not in war." 

3 Authorities in Quakers in American Colonies, p. 186. 

4 Jones, Quakers in the American Colonies, p. 187. Colony Records of Massa- 
chusetts, v. 59. 


" You say you have apostated from the Lord with a great 
backsliding : to which I do consent ; so great (as) hardly to be 
paralleled, all things considered. . . . Our houses are open to receive 
your wounded and all in distress, we have prepared a hospital for 
yours, but you a house of correction for all that repair to our 
Meetings. Your ministers with us have not been molested, ours with 
you have been persecuted. Is this a time for you to set up iniquity 
by a law ? "* 

The appeals of the settlers at Providence, Warwick, and the 
other mainland towns were harder to resist. The towns were deso- 
lated by the war, and the refugees in Newport could not look with 
calm on the destruction of their homesteads across the water, while 
those who refused to flee were in still worse plight. The Assembly 
decided in April 1676 that "there appears absolute necessity for 
the defence and safety of this colony." John Cranston, a non- 
member though connected with Friends, was chosen to organize 
the militia and " to kill, expulse, take and destroy all and every 
the enemies of his Majesty's colony." 3 The commission was given 
by Governor Coddington and at the same time a garrison of eight 
men sent to help Providence. Yet Walter Clarke, a Quaker who 
had been most stubborn in resisting the pleas from the mainland, 
was chosen Governor this year, just before the war ended with the 
death of King Philip. William Edmundson, who was travelling 
among American Friends this year, found at Newport that " great 
troubles attended Friends by reason of the war, which lay very 
heavy on places belonging to that quarter without the island, the 
Indians killing and burning all before them ; and the people who 
were not Friends were outrageous to fight. But the Governor, 
being a Friend (one Walter Clarke), would not give commissions 
to kill and destroy men." 3 

It was in 1677, when the war was over, and the full extent 
of its ravages became apparent, that the elections went against the 

1 Eastern's Narrative, Appendix. 

1 A curious report to the English authorities in April 1675 gave an optimistic 
account of the excellence of the Rhode Island Militia, with their " buff-coats, 
pistols, hangers, and crosslets." " All men that are able bear arms except some 
few Anabaptists and the Quakers, who will not bear any " (Col. Papers, xxxiv. 
iv. 66. CO., i. 34. Calendar, 1675-6, p. 221). 

3 Edmundson, Journal, p. 82. During this year of 1676, Edmundson 
travelled through regions where the Indian war was raging. He says : " I 
committed^ my life to God who gave it, and took my journey," even holding 
peaceful intercourse with a band of Indians in full war-paint. 


Quakers and the new Assembly passed the Militia Bill, already 
mentioned. Yet the reaction was short-lived. From 1678 to 17 14 
Quakers were almost continuously in office, except during an attempt 
from 1686 to 1689 by James II to annul the charter, annex the 
colony to Massachusetts, and govern both by one of his creatures, 
Sir Edward Andros. Throughout these years the local authorities 
opposed a quiet but firm resistance to the demands of Andros, refusing 
to give up their charter, and organizing self-government for the 
towns, when the General Assembly was dissolved. The Quakers 
of the colony in 1686 sent an earnest plea to James that the 
conscientious scruples to " bear arms or learn war any more " 
might be respected. 1 There is no evidence that they were molested. 
Under William and Mary the colony returned to its old privileges, 
and its succession of Quaker governors. In the term of one of these, 
John Easton, King Philip's friend, a fleet of French ships seven 
in number appeared off the Narragansett coast and were bombarding 
the shore (it was at the time of the war between William and Louis) 
when two Rhode Island sloops made a spirited attack upon them 
I and drove them off in much disorder. 

During these latter years of Quaker government there were 

; animated disputes with the Governors of New York and 

Massachusetts over the colony's right to control its militia, and 

i with the English Home Office over matters of trade and navigation. 

; All these questions, the authorities of the colony maintained, were 

by the charter left in their own decision and control. On the other 

hand, charges were made to the home authorities that Rhode Island 

| was unwilling to take punitive measures against the pirates who 

infested American waters at the end of the seventeenth century. 

The Quaker politicians were even accused of a corrupt and profitable 

: alliance with the pirates, but no proof was ever brought forward 

; of this. As the population of the island grew in the eighteenth 

i century, the Quaker influence waned, although several members 

I of the Wanton family held the office of Governor. Their ancestor 

Edward Wanton had been converted to the faith by witnessing 

' the martyrdon of the Quakers on Boston Common in 1 659.2 He 

' must have been a youth at the time, for his son, John, was born 

Col. Papers, Iviiii. 36. CO., i. 60. CaL, 1685-8, p' 232. 

1 The tradition was that he was a member of the guard, and " came home 
: from the execution, greatly changed, saying, as he unbuckled his sword : ' Mother, 
we have been murdering the Lord's people, and I will never put a sword on 
I again ' " (Jones, Quakers in American Colonies, p. 201). 


in 1672 and was Governor of Rhode Island from 1733 to his death 
in 1 74 1. During his last term of office the " War of Jenkin's Ear " 
broke out between England and Spain, which involved the Spanish 
and English settlements in the West Indies and on the American 
continent. John Wanton, although a leading Friend, had to carry 
out many military duties, which alarmed the corporate conscience 
of his Society. A Committee was appointed to " deal " with him, 
but he maintained that as Governor he had no choice except to 
fulfil his legal obligations. " I have endeavoured," he added, " on 
all previous occasions, as on this, to do my whole duty to God 
and to my fellow men, without doing violence to the law of my 
conscience." 1 As he died during this year, it is not certain 
whether the Meeting would have taken any further action in the 
case. Some of the Friends of Rhode Island were leaders in the 
struggle against the taxation claims of the English Crown and 
Parliament in the decade before the outbreak of the Revolution. 
Stephen Hopkins, the most distinguished of these men, was nine 
times Governor and a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. 
But during the same years, stirred up by John Woolman, the Rhode 
Island Yearly Meeting (representative of all New England Friends) 
was setting itself to free the Society from the reproach of slave- 
holding. In 1773 it resolved "that we do no more claim property 
in the human race" Stephen Hopkins was the owner of one slave, 
whom he steadily refused to free, and in this year he was, in 
consequence, disowned. Yet, when in 1774, the Yearly Meeting 
appointed a Committee to secure anti-slavery legislation from the 
assembly, Stephen Hopkins brought in and carried the required Act. 
In the New England colonies, amid all their other sufferings, 
Friends did not escape those for refusal to bear arms. Indian raids 
on the outskirts of the settled territory were a constant menace, 
and Indian wars were frequent. The Puritan pioneers could not 
understand neighbours who went about unarmed, who even in 
war-time often refused the protection of a " garrison," and who 
would take no part in measures of retaliation. It did not add to 
the popularity of a Quaker settler that he was able to establish 
amicable relations with the red men, and that he could live in his 
cabin unmolested, while his neighbour's home went up in flames 
and the neighbour's life was worth nothing if he strayed outside 
the garrison. These " garrisons " were houses or groups of houses 
1 Quoted in Quakers in American Colonies, p. 204. 


roughly prepared for defence, surrounded by a loopholed palisade, 
at which stood ever an armed guard. Here the old men, women, 
and children took refuge on the first alarm, while the majority 
of the able-bodied sallied out from it for punitive expeditions. 
The early Epistles to London from Rhode Island Yearly Meeting 
often speak of the troubles due to the " barbarious Indians." From 
Thomas Chalklev and Thomas Story we gain more intimate 
accounts of their own personal experiences in these wars. 

In 1699 Story was travelling on religious visits through New 
England, at a time of especially ferocious warfare. He kept a close 
watch on the conduct of New England Friends under the test : 
" I did not hear of any of our Friends that carried arms when abroad 
or in their business, but two, and these the Indians had killed, 
but most went into garrisons to lodge in the nights, and some not, 
but trusted in the Lord ; and we kept clear of all garrisons, always 
lodging without their bounds and protection of their guns and 
arms." 1 Another Indian war broke out in 17034. Anne and 
her Government had been drawn into the war of the Spanish 
Succession, and in revenge the French stirred up their native allies 
against the English colonists. Story, on his travels through 
Massachusetts, found the countryside panic-stricken. " It was a 
dismal time indeed in those parts ; for no man knew, in an 
ordinary way, when the sun set, that ever it would arise upon him 
any more ; or, lying down to sleep, but his first waking might be in 
eternity, by a salutation in the face with a hatchet, or a bullet from 
the gun of a merciless savage, who from wrongs received (as they 
too justly say) from the professors of Christ in New England, are 
to this day enraged, as bears bereaved of their cubs, sparing neither 
age nor sex."* As in 1699, some Friends took refuge in the 
garrisons, and some even carried arms, but the " faithful and true " 
remained quietly in their homes. Story, though he visited the most 
disturbed parts, would never lodge in a garrison. At first he doubted 
whether to hold meetings in places to which Friends must travel 
by dangerous paths. But by an " invisible Power " he was encouraged 
to continue his work, the meetings were held to the great comfort 
of those who attended, and no lives were lost on the journeys. He 
found that the more timid Friends, who sheltered in garrisons and 
carried arms, " to the dishonour of Truth," were trying to justify 
themselves by condemning those who remained faithful in their 

1 Life of Thomas Story, 1747, p. 197. * Ibid., p. 315. 



principles. Story, therefore, who was always ready to preach a 
peaceable gospel, " had much to say in every meeting on that subject," 
and no doubt used the fate of some of these waverers as a text. 
The facts are told both by Story and Chalkley. The latter wrote 
in his 'Journal for this year, on the subject of the Indian wars : 

" Among the many hundreds that were slain, I heard but of two 
or three of our Friends being killed, whose destruction was very 
remarkable, as I was informed (the one was a woman, the other 
two were men). The men used to go to their labour without any 
weapons, and trusted to the Almighty, and depended on His provision 
to protect them, it being their principle not to use weapons of war to 
offend others or to defend themselves. But a spirit of distrust taking 
place in their minds, they took weapons of war to defend themselves ; 
and the Indians, who had seen them several times without them, 
and let them alone, saying, They were peaceable people and hurt 
nobody, therefore they would not hurt them, now seeing them to have 
guns and supposing they designed to kill the Indians, they therefore 
shot the men dead." Story tells of a similar, but apparently distinct, 
case where two young Friends were walking together, one with 
a gun and one without. " The Indians shot him who had the gun, 
but hurt not the other. And when they knew the young man they 
had killed was a Friend, they seemed sorry for it, but blamed him 
for carrying a gun : for they knew the Quakers would not fight 
nor do them any harm, and therefore, by carrying a gun, they took 
him for an enemy." 1 The woman already mentioned was killed 
on the same day as this young man. She had lived in a lonely spot 
with her daughter, son-in-law, and their family. At first she 
remained quietly there during the danger, but in time what Chalkley 
called " a slavish fear " so preyed upon her mind that she induced 
them to move with her to a neighbouring town, Hampton, where 
there was a " garrison " in which they could take refuge in case 
of a sudden attack. The daughter, Mary Doe, left an account of 
the whole episode in a quaint and touching letter to her children, 
which Chalkley quotes in full. In it she told them that, in the 
neighbourhood of the garrison, " my dear mother . . . found 
herself not at all easy, but, as she often said to many, that she felt 
herself in a beclouded condition, and more shut from counsel than 
she had been since she knew the Truth, and, being uneasy, went 
to move to a Friend's house that lived in the neighbourhood j and 

1 Story, Life, p. 316. 


as she was moving, the bloody cruel Indians lay by the way and 
killed her. O, then, how did I lament moving ! " Thereafter the 
daughter persuaded her husband to return to the lonely dwelling, 
but he was uneasy in his mind " till our dear friend Thomas Story 
came and told him, he did not see that I could have a greater 
revelation than I had. And (this) satisfied my husband so well that 
he never asked me more to go, but was very well contented to stay 
all the wars ; and then things were made more easy, and we saw 
abundance of the wonderful works and of the mighty power of the 
Lord, in keeping and preserving of us, when the Indians were at 
our doors and windows, and at other times ; and how the Lord put 
courage in you, my dear children. Don't you forget it, and don't 
think that as you were so young, and because you knew little, so 
you feared nothing ; but often consider how you staid at home 
alone, when we went to Meetings, and how the Lord preserved 
you and kept you, so that no hurt came upon you." 1 

Of this, the home of Henry Dow, or Doe, Story said it was 
" a place of as much seeming danger as any being within pistol-shot 
of a great swamp or thicket, where Indians formerly inhabited, 
and there I lodged, where there was neither gun nor sword, nor 
any weapon of war, but Truth, faith, the fear of God, and love, 
in a humble and resigned mind, and there I rested with consolation." 

Another Friend in this district told Chalkley that he was 
working in his field when some Indians called him, and he went 
to them. They told him that they had no quarrel with the Quakers, 
for they were a quiet, peaceable people and hurt nobody, and that 
therefore none should hurt them. But they complained bitterly 
of the Presbyterians who " had taken away their lands and some 
of their lives." Chalkley, after recounting the barbarous revenge 
the Indians took for these wrongs, adds : " But we travelled the 
country and had large meetings, and God was with us abundantly, 
and we had great inward joy in the Holy Ghost in our outward 
jeopardy and travels. The people generally rode and went to their 
worship armed, but Friends went to their meetings without sword 
or gun, having their trust and confidence in God." 

This Indian war was a by-product of the struggle with France, 
in which the Government of New England was bearing its part 
by an invasion of Canada. To recruit this expeditionary force they 
passed a draft law, under which any defaulters were to be fined, 

1 Chalkley, Journal, pp. 41-6. 


" and refusing to pay the fine, should be imprisoned, and sold or 
bound to some of the Queen's subjects within that colony, for so 
long a time as by their work they might pay their fines and charges." 
This law at once brought some young Quakers into prison, and 
revived the old New England bitterness against them. One preacher 
gave a fast-day sermon on the three judgments of God, which were : 
the Indian war, the failure of the crops, and the increase of 
Quakerism ! Two young men of Bristol, Massachusetts John 
Smith and Thomas Maccamore were conscripted under this law, 
fined five pounds, and imprisoned for its non-payment. 1 They 
had already been in prison some two months when Thomas Story, 
who was on a religious visit to Rhode Island, took occasion to cross 
the bay with other Friends and hold a meeting with them in the 
prison. The meeting was held again a fortnight later, when the 
company " were favoured with a good time in the Presence and Love 
of God together." But Story was anxious to obtain for them material 
relief as well as spiritual comfort, and his negotiations show that 
the conscientious objector was an inconvenient phenomenon to 
the colonial officials of Queen Anne's day. With Thomas Cornwell, 
a Friend from Rhode Island, Story visited Colonel Nathaniel Byfield, 
one of the magistrates. At first they had an uncomfortable reception. 
" He was very boisterous, reproaching Friends in general as a sort 
of people not worthy to live upon the earth, particularly those of 
Rhode Island and New England, who would not go out nor pay 
their money to others to fight against a common enemy so 
barbarous as are the Indians ; wishing us all in the front of the 
battle until we had learned bettter ; charging us with many errors 
and heresies in religion by the lump, instancing only in refusing 
to fight, and believing in sinless perfection in this life." The 
Friends took up the challenge, and the Colonel soon grew weary 
of the argument, for he " flounced " about the room, saying : " He 
could not stay, for there were a hundred men waiting for him, and 
he must be going." He calmed down, however, and invited the 
Friends to dine with him, to continue the discussion. As he repeated 
his condemnation of those who would not fight, Story asked, " seeing 
he was so keen of war, why was he not among the rest in the expedi- 
tion then on foot against the Indians ; for, if he had courage to his 
stature, he might do something more than merely talk against the 
infidels." He had no commission, he said ; but Story retorted that, 

1 Story, Life, pp. 266-311. 


doubtless, he could have one for the asking. The Colonel took 
the quip good-naturedly, and after the meal the three walked back 
to Bristol together. As they went, the harassed official declared 
that " it might be well if we (Friends) were all settled in a place 
by ourselves, where we could not be troublesome unto others by 
our contradictious ways." But Story, with something of the sublime 
confidence of Fox, replied that even so, " more would spring up 
in our places. For what would the world do if it should lose its 
salt and leaven ? " Their companion was not unnaturally " a little 
surprised " at the answer, but turned the subject by telling them 
the young men were to be sent to Boston to labour at the fort until 
they had worked off their fines. The Friends argued that this 
was not the penalty assigned by the law, but the Colonel's mind 
was made up and he left them. " After this " (adds Story) " we 
went to the prison to see the young men, and acquainted them that 
we could find little ground to expect any favour ; at which they 
seemed altogether unconcerned, being much resigned to the will 
of God at that time." Next day the trial began, with a revival of 
the old hat controversy. When this was settled by their headgear 
being taken from the Quakers, the judge (Colonel Byfield again) 
said humorously that : " If he thought there were any religion 
in a hat, he would have the largest he could purchase for money." 
Then he asked the prisoners the reason of their obstinancy. 

" The young men modestly replied, It was not obstinacy, but 
duty to God, according to their consciences and religious persuasions, 
which prevailed with them to refuse to bear arms or learn war. 
But the judge would not, by any means, seem to admit there was 
any conscience in it, but ignorance and a perverse nature ; 
accounting it very irreligious in any who were personally able, and 
legally required, to refuse their help now in time of war against 
enemies so potent, and so barbarous as the French and Indians." 
Then he charged the Society with inconsistency in paying taxes, 
and refusing fines. This brought Story to his feet, with a request 
to be allowed to explain the distinction, which was granted. 
Beginning " with the example of Christ himself," he distinguished 
a general tax from " a law that directly and principally affects the 
person." But the judge interrupted with the remark that Story 
was preaching a sermon. The court postponed its decision, and the 
elder Friends made acknowledgment of the courtesy they had received. 
" Our hats being delivered us, we accompanied the young men back 


to the prison, where, being set down together, the Presence of the 
Lord was sensibly with us, and I had some things to say concerning 
faithfulness unto God, and the great reward of it here and 

The sentence was as foretold, and Story, with other Friends, 
went to Boston to lay the case before the Governor, Colonel 
Dudley. He was courteous, saying (in reply to Story's explanation 
of the peace position " those who are in wars are not in the life 
nor doctrine of Christ ") that " he was no disputant about religion," 
but that, in the existing state of public opinion, he could not override 
the Justice's decision. But, said Story, the decision was against 
the law, and the Governor on that ground should release the men. 
" The country " (he replied) " would be about his ears if he should 
do that ; but it is a harmless thing to work at the castle ; they need 
not fight there." They cannot work at it, Story answered, for it 
is an " erection for war." The Friends were forced to leave 
unsatisfied, but eventually, though the young men were taken to 
Boston, they were not sent to the Castle, but left at liberty " to 
be ready upon call." Story had several other opportunities during 
this visit to New England of stating his views on war. He recounts 
at great length a dispute on war in the island of Canonicut with 
a Baptist teacher who had informed him " with some ostentation " 
that his two sons were serving in the expedition to Canada. The 
argument ranged over the whole field, the distinction between the 
civil and the military power, the contradiction of war with the 
spirit of Christ " the whole tenor of his doctrine and example 
of life was for peace and love, and in that love and the power and 
divine virtue of it he yielded up his life " and the necessity that 
individuals must begin the practice of peace before the whole world 
is convinced of their principles. 1 " And as for us, who do not fight 
with carnal weapons, we meddle not with you who do, otherwise 
than to persuade you to leave that off and be enlisted under the saving 
banner of the Prince of Peace ; to believe in the divine light of 
the Son of God ; to come out of the Spirit of this world, in which 
is all trouble, into the Spirit and Kingdom of Christ, in whom there 

1 One of Story's arguments, apparently a favourite one, as he repeated it on 
another occasion, was that the Jews crucified Christ in the fear that if his teaching 
spread they could raise no forces for a patriotic struggle against the Romans. 
He based this theory on John xi. 48, which more naturally refers to the people's 
belief in Christ as " King of the Jews " and the dread of a sudden rising on behalf 
of such a pretender. 


is perfect peace ; which if ye will not do, we must leave you to 
fight one with another, until you are weary." His opponent could 
find little to answer, and they " parted friendly," which, Story says, 
was his aim in every dispute, as he wished to produce conviction, or 
at least understanding, rather than conquest. 1 

The New England law still remained severe, and the Epistles 
to London frequently mention sufferings for the " Malisa." In 
1 7 10 the Governor of Boston was "kind," and discharged several 
prisoners. Next year there was another expedition to Canada, and 
the Yearly Meeting of 1 7 1 2 recorded the imprisonment of four young 
men who refused to serve. Two, who were in confinement for three 
months, seem to have been forced to accompany the expedition, 
but were " not abused during the time of their voyage." 2 The 
other two were imprisoned in Boston Castle, and thence forced 
on board a transport, where they underwent such hard usage that 
one of them, John Terry, afterwards died. This same Yearly 
Meeting informed English Friends that although the " barbarious 
Indians " had murdered many that past year in the eastern parts 
of New England, yet not one Friend had fallen a victim. 3 In the 
Seven Years War, and especially at the time of the Louisburg 
Expedition in 1758, Friends endured heavy distraints owing to 
their refusal to hire substitutes for the campaign. In certain cases 
the sums charged were so excessive that the legislature, on a petition 
from the sufferers, examined the matter and in the end returned 
to them the money illegally exacted. 

In the colony of New York, Friends also had their full share 
of suffering for " not learning war," as they phrased it in a letter 
to London in 1706. The respectful protest the Friends at Flushing 
forwarded in 1672 to the Governor of New York is especially 
interesting from its description of the refusal of all part in warlike 
activities as a long-standing principle of Friends. " Whereas it 
was desired of the country that all who would willingly contribute 
towards repairing the fort of New York would give in their names 

Story, Life, pp. 364-7. 

* Minutes of Rhode Island (New England) Yearly Meeting, 1712. Quoted 
in Quakers in the American Colonies, p. 150. 

3 About 1725 . . . there are records in the minutes of Philadelphia Yearly 
Meeting of a collection of nearly a thousand dollars taken up for John Hanson 
" of the eastern part of New England, whose wife, four children, and a servant 
were carried off by the Indians and he had to ransom them at a great price " 
(Kelsey, Friends and the Indians, p. 73). 


and sums, and we whose names are underwritten not being found 
on the list, it was since desired by the High Sheriff that we would 
give our reasons unto the Governor, how willing and ready we have 
been to pay our customs, as country rates and needful town charges, 
and how we have behaved ourselves peaceably and quietly amongst 
our neighbours, and are ready to be serviceable in anything which 
doth not infringe upon our tender consciences, but being in a measure 
redeemed of wars and stripes we cannot for conscience' sake be 
concerned in upholding things of that nature as you yourselves 
well know. It hath not been our practice in old England since we 
were a people." x 

While New Jersey was under its Quaker proprietorship there 
was naturally no trouble for tender consciences, and even under 
Queen Anne, Friends were exempted from the militia training, 
if certified as recognized members of the Society. It was a time 
of sudden alarms of a French invasion, and four young men of 
Burlington Meeting had to confess they had gone out with arms 
to search for some escaped prisoners, although their intentions were 
not bloodthirsty. "It seemed best for those that had guns to take 
them, not with a design to hurt, much less to kill man, woman, or 
child ; but we thought that if we could meet these runaways, the 
sight of the guns might fear them." 3 In war-time New Jersey 
Quakers suffered like other Friends from imprisonments and 
distraints, while their comrades of the same Yearly Meeting, across 
the borders of Pennsylvania, were, of course, immune. 

Quakerism in New Jersey during the eighteenth century was 
adorned by the life of John Woolman, one of the uncalendared 
saints of the Christian Church. This " serene and beautiful spirit," 
to quote Whittier's discerning eulogy, was the chief instrument 
in the gradual process by which the Society of Friends cleared itself 
from the reproach of slave-holding and slave-dealing. By this time the 
practice of buying imported slaves was generally condemned in the 
Society, at all events, among Northern Friends, but the well-to-do 
held slaves as a matter of course. They were treated as human 
beings rather than chattels, and in many cases given religious 
teaching ; slavery was in its mildest form in a Quaker household ; 
but none the less it was slavery. John Woolman was a humble 
tradesman of Mount Holly in New Jersey. Being somewhat better 

1 Quoted in Quakers in the American Colonies, p. 250. 

* Quoted by A. M. Gummere in Quakers of the American Colonies, p. 393- 


educated than his neighbours he was employed by them to write 
their legal documents, and it was his refusal to do this in cases relating 
to the transfer of slaves that marked the opening of his life-long 
battle for the oppressed. This was in 1742. In 1746 he first visited 
Friends in Virginia and Carolina, where he was greatly affected 
by what he saw of the evils of Southern slavery. It was largely 
through his earnest pleading that the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting 
of 1758 adopted a minute condemning slavery, and urging that 
Friends should "steadily observe the injunction of our Lord and 
Master : ' To do unto others as we would they should do unto us,' 
which it now appears to this Meeting would induce such Friends who 
have any slaves to set them at liberty making a Christian provision 
for them according to their ages." This minute practically made 
slave-holding an offence against the corporate morality of the Society. 
But persuasion and entreaty were tried before discipline. John 
Woolman and others who felt with him gave themselves up to the 
task of visiting and pleading with slave-holding Friends. Few could 
resist his gentle eloquence. In twenty years' time the Philadelphia 
Yearly Meeting had no slave-holding members. The Yearly 
Meetings of the other States also had their consciences awakened, 
partly through the labours of John Woolman. By the end of the 
Revolutionary War slavery had practically vanished from the Society 
of Friends. In almost all cases members had willingly freed their 
slaves, and the total number of disownments was very small. 

To Woolman not only slavery, but conduct as a whole and in 
detail, was to be judged by what he called the " pure reason." 
Society ideally was a harmony, and each individual was responsible 
for the discords which marred it. Selfishness and greed lay at the 
roots, not only of slavery, but of the inequalities of wealth and 
poverty, of war, and of all other social evils. " To labour " (he wrote 
towards the end of his life) " for a perfect redemption from this 
spirit of oppression is the great business of the whole family of 
Christ Jesus in this world." 1 In a striking passage he pressed home 
his argument with regard to war. " When that spirit works which 
loves riches, and in its working gathers wealth and cleaves to 
customs which have their root in self-pleasing, whatever name it 
hath, it still desires to defend the treasures thus gotten. This is 
like a chain in which the end of one link encloseth the end of another. 
The rising up of a desire to obtain wealth is the beginning ; this 
* A Word of Remembrance to the Rich, sect. xii. 


desire being cherished, moves to action ; and riches thus gotten 
please self ; and while self has a life in them it desires to have them 
defended. Wealth is attended with power, by which bargains and 
proceedings contrary to universal righteousness are supported ; 
and hence oppression carried on with worldly policy and order, 
clothes itself with the name of justice and becomes like a seed of 
discord in the soul. And as a spirit which wanders from the pure 
habitation prevails, so the seeds of war swell and sprout and grow 
and become strong until much fruit is ripened. Then cometh the 
harvest spoken of by the prophet which ' is an heap in the day of 
grief and desperate sorrows.' Oh that we who declare against wars 
and acknowledge our trust to be in God only, may walk in the light, 
and therein examine our foundation and motives in holding great 
estates ! May we look upon our treasures, the furniture of our 
houses, and our garments, and try whether the seeds of war have 
nourishment in these our possessions." x This was written towards 
the close of his life ; in earlier years he had faced the question of 
the direct responsibility for war as it affected him. At the time 
of the French and Indian campaigns of the Seven Years War he 
decided, after much heart-searching, that he could not pay the taxes 
which went to their support. 3 " To refuse the active payment of a 
tax which our Society generally paid was exceedingly disagreeable, 
but to do a thing contrary to my conscience appeared yet more 
dreadful." Woolman devotes some pages of his "Journal to a gentle 
explanation why he felt constrained to differ even from the early 
Friends in this matter. " From the steady opposition which faithful 
Friends in early times made to wrong things then approved, they 
were hated and persecuted by men living in the spirit of this world 
and, suffering with firmness, they were made a blessing to the Church 
and the work prospered. It equally concerns men in every age to 
take heed to their own spirits ; and in comparing their situation 
with ours, to me it appears that there was less danger of their being 
infected with the spirit of this world in paying such taxes than is 
the case with us now." In eighteenth-century America, particularly 
in Pennsylvania, Friends held civil office which might at times 
involve the performance of duties connected with war. If they 
saw other Friends contentedly paying war taxes, their own scruples 
in regard to these duties might be allayed. " Thus, by small degrees, 

1 A Word of Remembrance to the Rich, sect. ix. 
* John Woolman, Journal. 


we might approach so near to fighting that the distinction would 
be little else than the name of a peaceable people." Twice again 
during the war he had to meet a time of trial. In August 1757 
the militia of his county, Burlington, was called out, and a force 
sent to relieve the English holding Fort William Henry, New York. 
Soon orders came to draft another force of men, to be held under 
marching orders. A considerable number of Friends were called up. 
John Woolman at this time was just thirty-seven, and it is not clear 
from his account whether he was liable to service, but he certainly 
was in close touch with the conscripts. 1 Some, he says, went away 
to avoid service, others agreed to serve ; " others appeared to have 
a real tender scruple in their minds against joining in wars, and were 
much humbled under the apprehension of a trial so near." These 
latter informed the captain that they could neither serve nor hire 
substitutes, and they were allowed for the time to return home, 
although he would not release them from their obligation to service. 
They were not, however, called up, since the fort had fallen and 
the French, after destroying it, had marched away before the first 
draft could be of service. With his innate fairness of mind Woolman 
was struck by the difficulty which the conscientious objector presented 
to the military authorities. Some officers, he wrote, felt it painful 
to trouble sincere and upright men on account of scruples of conscience, 
and were willing to treat them with consideration. " But where 
men profess to be so meek and heavenly minded and to have their 
trust so firmly settled in God that they cannot join in wars, and 
yet by their spirit and conduct in common life manifest a contrary 
disposition, their difficulties are great at such a time. When officers 
who are anxiously endeavouring to get troops to answer the demands 
of their superiors, see men who are insincere pretend scruple of 
conscience in hopes of being excused from a dangerous employment 
it is likely they will be roughly handled." From this Woolman 
drew the moral of " the advantage of living in the real substance 
of religion, where practice doth harmonize with principle." 

A few months later (April 1758) troops were billeted at Mount 
Holly, and Woolman was required to accommodate two soldiers. 
" The case being new and unexpected, I made no answer suddenly, 
but sat a time silent, my mind being inward. I was fully convinced 

1 He says : " This was such a time as I had not seen before ; and yet I may 
say, with thankfulness to the Lord, that I believe the trial was intended for our 
good and I was favoured with resignation to Him." This seems to imply that 
he was in the draft. 


that the proceedings in wars are inconsistent with the purity of 
the Christian religion ; and to be hired to entertain men who were 
then under pay as soldiers was a difficulty with me. I expected they 
had legal authority for what they did ; and after a short time I 
said to the officers, if the men are sent here for entertainment, I 
believe I shall not refuse to admit them into my house, but the 
nature of the case is such that I expect I cannot keep them on hire ; 
one of the men intimated that he thought I might do it consistently 
with my religious principles. To which I made no reply, believing 
silence at that time best for me. Though they spake of two, there 
came only one, who tarried at my house about two weeks, and 
behaved himself civilly. When the officer came to pay me, I told 
him I could not take pay, having admitted him into my house in 
a passive obedience to authority. I was on horseback when he spake 
to me, and as I turned from him, he said he was obliged to me 
to which I said nothing ; but, thinking on the expression, I grew 
uneasy ; and afterwards, being near where he lived, I went and 
told him on what grounds I refused taking pay for keeping a soldier." 
In Virginia the legislature had early to deal with the Quaker 
objection. Finding that " divers refractory persons " refused to 
attend the Militia exercises, they passed a law in 1666 inflicting 
a fine of an hundred pounds of tobacco for each offence. 1 The 
Epistles from Virginia Yearly Meeting to London, and the records 
of the Monthly Meetings show that in many cases Friends under- 
went heavy distraints in lieu of these fines. In 171 1 they wrote to 
England that some of their number had been " imprest to make 
fortifications," and were in prison for their refusal. This was an 
attempt on the part of Governor Spotswood to force those whom 
he considered shirkers and cowards to serve the State in some way. 
A few did help to build the forts, but the Yearly Meeting of 
Virginia declared that these " had given away their testimony," 
and must make amends to their Monthly Meetings. In 1726/7 
William Pigott, an English Friend, held some meetings in Virginia, 
to one of which " came a justice, who had never been at a Friends' 
Meeting before. . . . We parted lovingly, and next day a Friend 
was set at liberty who had been imprisoned for not appearing in arms." 
Samuel Bownas, another English Friend, found prisoners on the 

1 Hening, Statutes at Large of Virginia, ii. 246. See Weeks, Southern Quakers 
and Slavery, pp. 170 foil. For the Epistles to London, see Epistles Received 
(in D.), for example, 1693, 1704, 1711, 1727. 



same account in Virginia, when he visited the colony a few months 
later. 1 In 1738 there was an attempt at a relieving Act, by which 
Friends were exempted from personal service if they produced a 
substitute or paid a fine. 2 But the consciences of most Friends did 
not allow them to take advantage of the provision. Next year the 
Yearly Meeting reported the sufferings as " very considerable," 
including several cases of imprisonment. So matters went on for 
twentv years, although in 1742 the Meeting declared that many 
of those who administered the Act showed as much lenity " as we 
can reasonably expect." But at the time of the Canadian and Indian 
Wars, which were the colonial share of the world struggle between 
France and England, the Assembly passed a series of Militia laws, 
followed in 1755 by a "draft" (or conscription) law for single 
men. In 1756 this was made more stringent. Every twentieth 
man eligible for the militia (or his substitute) was sent to fight on 
the frontier under " Colonel Washington." 3 Under this Act seven 
young men of the Society were forced into the army and carried 
to the frontier, but they did not waver in their testimony, and in 
a few months' time they were released. This was Washington's 
first encounter with the Quakers in war-time ; he was to find them 
a source of greater difficulty twenty years later. It is evident from 
the warnings given out by the Yearly Meeting that some Friends 
paid fines, and this is implied in the report given to the London 
Yearly Meeting in 1759. John Hunt had gone out to Pennsylvania 
in 1756 to advise Friends there in their political difficulties ; after 
their settlement he had travelled in the other colonies. " In Virginia, 
particularly, he gives sorrowful accounts of the state of Friends, 
who are much degenerated from the primitive practices of the Society 
in many respects, and who, in his judgment, have suffered much 
from the keeping of negroes, and letting fall their Christian discipline ; 
but that in some places, especially in the back parts of that country, 
there was a virtuous, sober, and religious body of Friends who could 
not comply with their military preparations." 

In 1766 Friends petitioned the Assembly for relief from the 
repeated militia fines. This they gained in some measure by an 
Act which exempted them entirely from training or the provision 
of arms in time of peace, though it maintained the old liability to 

1 For the accounts of these Friends, see (London) Yearly Meeting MS., 

Hening, iii. 336. 3 Ibid., vii. 9' 


service or fine in time of war. Thus they had a brief respite until 
the outbreak of the Revolution. 

Carolina made her first law to enforce military service in 1680, 
while the leaders of the " Culpepper Rebellion " were in power. 
Friends had held aloof from this movement, the aim of which was 
mainly to free the colony from the strict control of the English 
proprietors. In retaliation, the de facto Government enacted that 
those who refused to appear in arms at the muster should be fined 
" at the pleasure of the Court." In this year, however, John Archdale 
became, by purchase, one of the proprietors of the colony, where 
he resided from 1683 to 1686. This remarkable man was a native 
of Wycombe, Bucks, and according to its then vicar " the chief 
gentleman of the village." During the early part of Charles I Ft 
reign, he was Deputy-Governor of Maine, but on his return home 
(about the year 1671) he was greatly influenced by the preaching 
of Fox and became a Quaker. During the latter part of his residence 
in Carolina, he was Acting-Governor, carrying out his duties with 
great acceptance. Naturally at this time the Quakers were un- 
molested, but he had hardly returned to England when, in July 
1687, the Meeting for Sufferings had under consideration a letter 
from Friends in Carolina detailing their troubles under a new 
Militia Act. "John Archdale gives account he has taken some 
care to get them relieved," and other Friends were appointed to join 
him in a deputation to his fellow proprietors to see what further 
steps could be taken. The fantastic constitution devised by Locke 
was breaking down under the strain of actual working, and the 
trouble was increased by friction between the two divisions of the 
colony North and South Carolina, which had been established 
in 1688. In a good hour the proprietors chose Archdale in 1694 
to be Governor and " Admirall, Captain Generall and Commander- 
in-Chief of all the forces raised or to be raised both by sea and land 
within our said province." The new Governor did not make much 
use of these mighty naval and military establishments, and his one 
piece of military legislation is characteristic. " While administering 
a general military law, he secured a special Act passed March 15, 
1695/6, exempting Quakers from its provisions." 1 In all other 
ways his Government won general approbation ; he settled local 
quarrels, harmonized the claims of proprietors and colonists, established 
a just policy towards the Indians, and prepared the way for the 
1 Weeks, Southern Quakers, p. 59. 


naturalization of a body of French Huguenots who had taken refuge 
in Carolina. When he returned to England in 1696, the* thanks 
of all the colonists followed him. " By your wisdom, patience, and 
labour," wrote the Assembly, " you have laid a firm foundation 
for a most glorious superstructure." Soon after his departure the 
Assembly carried on the good work by granting liberty of conscience 
to all " except only Papists " an exception which Archdale would 
not have approved. On taking his seat as Governor he had been 
allowed to affirm " according to the form of his profession," but 
after his return to England and his election as member for Wycombe 
in 1698 he was excluded from the House because he would not 
take an oath. 1 

The peaceful settlement, however, did not last long. Both in 
North and South Carolina, after the accession of Anne, Governors 
were appointed who were in strong sympathy with the desire of the 
English clergy, sent out by the Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel, to establish the Episcopal Church in the colony. As one-half 
of the Assembly in North Carolina were Quakers, according to 
the Governor's estimate in 1703, this was not an easy task, but 
an Act of the home Government in 1704 imposing the oath of 
allegiance on all office holders was a timely aid. The Quakers were 
ousted in each colony from the Assembly and Council, and the 
political power passed into the hands of the Church. At the same 
time other concessions were revoked. A South Carolina law of 
1703 enacted that all inhabitants between the ages of sixteen and 
sixty were to be armed and regularly drilled, and fines were imposed. 
Until 171 1 the Friends and other Dissenters of South Carolina 
struggled to regain their old rights. In 171c a new Governor was 
sent out to enforce the laws in favour of the Establishment. The 
Acting-Governor, John Cary, Archdale's son-in-law, and some 
others, rose in rebellion, which was soon suppressed. The only 
Friend known to have been concerned in it was one Emmanuel 
Lowe, also Archdale's son-in-law. 

The Yearly Meeting of 171 1 appointed a Committee to deal 
with Lowe for " stirring up a parcel of men in arms and going . . . 
in a barkentine with men and force of arms, contrary to our holy 

1 Rufus Jones, Quakers in American Colonies, pp. 340-50 ; Braithwaite, 
Second Period of Quakerism, pp. 412-14 ; John Archdale, A New Description of 
Carolina . . . With Several Remarkable Passages of Divine Providence during 
my time, London, 1707. 


principle." As a result, he was no longer counted eligible to represent 
the Society in its business meetings, " having acted divers things 
contrary to our ways and principles." 1 Friends, however, were 
identified by the Government with the rebellious party, and their 
political influence was entirely lost. The militia laws in both 
colonies seem to have been leniently administered, though Friends 
underwent some suffering for their refusal to fight in the Indian war 
of 171 1 13. In North Carolina they tried to gain exemption at the 
outbreak of the Indian troubles in 1755. All those eligible for the 
militia were required to furnish their weapons, and the Council 
made the interesting suggestion that the Quakers should produce 
instead the tools of the pioneer settler axe, spade, and hoe. This 
does not seem to have been adopted, for in 1758 Friends again 
petitioned for relief. Legally this was not obtained till 1771, when 
any Quakers called upon to serve were required to produce their 
certificates as members of the Society. In South Carolina during the 
late 'sixties the records show that some thirty members were 
disowned for taking part in the so-called " War of the Regulation," 
organized by Hermon Husband, an ex-Quaker. This " war " 
was a spirited resistance, led by the " Regulators," to some unjust 
and illegal methods of taxation. One Friend repented and gave 
his meeting a written condemnation of his error in " aiding with 
a gun." 

The episode was one of the first warnings of the coming struggle 
between the King and his colonial subjects. 

1 Weeks, Southern Quakers and Slavery, p. 166. 



The persecution which Friends underwent in England after the 
Restoration naturally turned the thoughts of some to emigration. 
Yet, with the exception of little Rhode Island, the English colonies 
promised no safer resting place than the homeland. As a youth 
at Oxford, William Perm had dreamt of a future in the American 
settlements and, as has been seen, he took the opportunity offered 
by the sale of the Jerseys to experiment in a free commonwealth 
where men might govern themselves and worship as their conscience 
bade them. But the Jerseys were already partly settled, and the 
development of Penn's ideas was hampered by existing claims and 
obligations. In 1681 a greater opportunity came before him, which 
he eagerly accepted. 

His father, Admiral Penn, at his death was a considerable creditor 
to the Crown (always embarrassed under Charles II) both for 
arrears of pay and for loans made to the Navy. In time, with the 
accumulated interest, the debt amounted to 16,000. James, Duke 
of York, was a friend of the Penns. He knew of Penn's desire to 
find a home for his fellow-sufferers and of his experiments in the 
Jerseys. To Charles this suggested an ideal solution of the debt 
difficulty. By granting a large tract of wild territory in the New 
World he would at once clear his debt without the disagreeable 
expedient of parting with ready money, he would please Penn, 
and he would undoubtedly get rid of a considerable number of 
inconvenient subjects. Penn's letters of the time show how seriously 
he took the grant. It was an age of constitution-making and of 
Utopias across the Atlantic. Locke tried his hand in Carolina with 
little success. Penn wished to found, not a mere asylum for the 
persecuted, but a free and self-governing State. " The nations," 
he wrote, " want a precedent and because I have been somewhat 

23 353 



exercised about the nature and end of government among men, 
it is reasonable to expect that I should endeavour to establish a just 
and righteous one in this province, that others may take example 
by it truly this my heart desires." Again : " I eyed the Lord in 
obtaining it. . . . There may be room there, though not here, 
for such an holy experiment." 1 

Masses of records remain among the " Penn MSS." of the 
Library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, showing the zeal 
with which the founder worked at his " experiment." These draft 
schemes are known to have been criticized by Algernon Sidney, 
the Republican, and Benjamin Furly, a Friend in Holland. In its 
final shape the " Frame of Government " consisted of twenty-four 
articles, the first of which granted liberty of conscience and worship 
to all " who confess and acknowledge the one Almighty and Eternal 
God to be the Creator, Upholder, and Ruler of the World, and that 
hold themselves obliged in conscience to live justly and peaceably 
in civil society." 3 The mildest code of penal laws and prison 
discipline conceived up to that time, under which treason and murder 
alone were subject to the death penalty (and these by an express 
reservation in the Royal Charter), the encouragement of arbitration 
rather than litigation, and the protection of Indian rights these 
were the first-fruits of the deliberations of Penn and his Assembly. 


Peace and liberty were the foundation-stones of his constitution, 
and in regard to the former it is interesting to see the essential 
difference between his conceptions and those of the home Government. 
This cleavage of opinion was eventually to become so acute on 
the question of war that it led to the overthrow of Quaker control 
in Pennsylvania. Before the territory was granted to Penn the 
laws in force over such portions of it as were inhabited were those 
promulgated by Governor Nicholls on Long Island in 1664, after 
the acquisition of the New Netherlands from the Dutch. These 
were known as the " Duke of York's Laws," and contained very 

1 Janney, Life of Penn, p. 175, letter to James Harrison. 

1 Penn's Frame confined office-holding to those " who profess to believe in 
Jesus Christ." After 1692 a test was imposed, by order of the Crown, which 
excluded Catholics, though liberty of worship was maintained for all. Penn more 
than once tried to restore his more liberal provision, but in vain. In the year of 
his death the law of capital punishment was assimilated to that of England, and 
thus about twelve more crimes were added to the list, but this reactionary proceeding 
was repudiated by the colonists when they gained their independence in 1776. 
The alteration in 1718 had been due to a political bargain ; in return for the 
extension of capital punishment, the right of Friends to affirm was recognized. 


specific military provisions. 1 Every male person above sixteen 
(except justices, constables, schoolmasters, ministers, physicians, 
masters of ships, " constant herdsmen," and the infirm) was liable 
under penalty to a short annual period of military training. Forts 
and ammunition were to be maintained. No man was to be 
compelled " to go out of this jurisdiction upon any offensive wars, 
but only upon vindicative and defensive wars." From service in these 
none could be exempt. 

By the grant to Penn these laws, of course, ceased to run in his 
province. But the Charter granted by Charles II made all due 
provision for the contingencies which, judging by the previous 
experience of English colonists, were only too likely to occur. After 
forbidding Penn or any inhabitant of the province to make war 
upon any State in friendly relations with England, it proceeded 
thus : 

" And because in so remote a country and situate near many 
barbarous nations, the incursions as well of the savages themselves 
as of other enemies, pirates, and robbers may probably be feared, 
therefore we ... do give power by these presents, unto the said 
William Penn ... to levy, muster, and train all sorts of men, of 
what condition or whatsoever born, in the said province of Pennsyl- 
vania, for the time being, and to make war and pursue the enemies 
and robbers aforesaid, as well by sea as by land, yea, even without 
the limits of the said province and, by God's assistance, to vanquish 
and take them, and being taken, to put them to death by the law 
of war, or to save them at their pleasure, and to do all and every 
other act and thing, which to the charges and office of a Captain- 
General of an army belongeth, as fully and freely as any Captain- 
General of an army hath ever had the same." The cautious Crown 
lawyers who framed the Charter could not foresee a State which 
was able to live in peace and amity even with " barbarous nations," 
but Penn had his policy clear in his mind and in his own " Frame 
of Government " the wordy particulars of this provision are 
represented by a simple clause. " Ninth. That the Governor and 
Provincial Council shall at all times have the care of the peace and 
safety of the province, and that nothing be by any person attempted 
to the subversion of this frame of government." It is characteristic 
of seventeenth-century Quakerism that rebellion is specifically 

1 Charter and Laws of Pennsylvania, edited by George, Nead & McCamant, 
Harrisburg, 1879, pp. 30-42. 


guarded against whilst war is ignored. In Some Account of the 
Province of Pennsylvania^ written in 1681 to attract intending 
settlers, Penn summarizes the charter for their benefit. It grants 
" the power of safety and defence in such way and manner as to the 
said William Penn, etc., seems meet " a pretty clear indication 
to those who knew him that William Penn was not intending, 
" with God's assistance," to enter upon the functions of a Captain- 

From 1682 to 1684 he was resident in his province, and when 
the boundary dispute with Maryland and the sufferings of Quakers 
in England called him back he left the power in the hands of a 
council with Thomas Lloyd, a Quaker, as President. 1 This arrange- 
ment lasted until 1688, and thus for the first seven years the conscience 
of the Quaker colonists was not put to any test. The three counties 
of Pennsylvania proper were mainly colonized by English Quakers, 
German Mennonites, and other peace-loving sects in sympathy 
with them. 2 In the Delaware district the original Dutch and Swedish 
settlers were preponderant. But from 1682 to 1756 there was always 
a large Quaker majority in the Assembly, which was increased 
when, in 1703, the Delaware counties, after long friction, set up an 
independent legislature. In the Governor's Council the Quaker 
element was also in the majority. The difficulty came when the 
authorities in England demanded military aid and military prepara- 
tions from the province. The position of Penn and other Friends 
was briefly that, while they considered all such preparations 
unnecessary, they would not interfere with, for example, the 
formation of a militia by those who were not principled against it. 
While James II was on the throne Penn was left with a free hand,3 

1 For Lloyd and other Quaker politicians, vide Sharpless, Political Leaders 
of Provincial Pennsylvania, 19 19. 

2 A band of German Quakers from the Palatinate, where they had been 
convinced by a missionary visit from William Ames, reached Pennsylvania in 1683 
under the leadership of Daniel Pastorius and settled in a district (now a suburb of 
Philadelphia) which acquired the name of Germantown. To them belongs the 
eternal credit of making, in 1688, the first clear protest to the Society against the 
inconsistency of Christian slave-holding. " Ah ! do consider well this thing, 
you who do it, if you would be done in this manner, and if it is done according to 
Christianity ? " (vide Appendix E. for the whole document). 

William Edmundson, a few years earlier, had protested as an individual against 
slavery in an Epistle to Friends in Maryland and Virginia. 

3 Sharpless, A Quaker Experiment, p. 194. Penn's cousin, Markham, his 
first deputy, was not a Quaker, but at that date (168 1) Penn certainly hoped to 
reside permanently in the province. 


but under the new rulers his position was more delicate. In 1688 
he began the practice of sending out a non-Quaker as Deputy- 
Governor, and Blackwell, an honest old Cromwellian soldier, was 
selected to fill the post. In 1689 the first trouble arose. There was 
fear of a French attack on the American colonies, and William III 
suggested that Pennsylvania should form a militia. Blackwell and 
the non-Quaker members of the Council urged this course, but 
the five Quaker members refused to sanction it. " They told the 
Governor that if he desired a militia, he had power to create one 
and they would not interfere if it did not offend any consciences." l 
John Simcock saw " no danger but from bears and wolves. . . . 
For my part I am against it clearly." Samuel Carpenter, the richest 
man in the province, was as explicit. " I am not against those that 
will put themselves into defence, but it being contrary to the judgment 
of a great part of the people, and my own too, I cannot advise the 
thing, nor express my liking for it. The King of England knows 
the judgment of Quakers in this case before Governor Penn had 
his patent. If we must be forced to it I suppose we shall rather choose 
to suffer than to do it, as we have done formerly." 2 After a private 
conference they decided : " We would not tie others' hands, but 
we cannot act." Samuel Carpenter added : " I had rather be ruined 
than violate my conscience in this case." The French alarm passed 
away, and Blackwell was soon recalled by Penn, as in other respects 
he and the Council were at variance. 

At home Penn fell under suspicion of treason and conspiracy, 
though nothing was proved against him beyond his friendship for 
James II, which he frankly acknowledged. It does not seem that 
William III ever entertained serious doubts of his passive loyalty, 
but during the King's absence abroad, in March 1692-3, Mary 
was prevailed upon to deprive him of his province, annexing it to 
that of New York under the government of Colonel Fletcher. 
The ostensible reasons for the change were (as given in Fletcher's 
commission) that the affairs of the province were in disorder owing 
to Penn's absence in England, and that there was no provision for 
defence, " whereby the province and adjacent colonies were in 
danger of being lost to the Crown."3 

1 Sharpless, A Quaker Experiment, pp. 194-5. 

1 Carpenter had formerly lived in Barbadoes and endured heavy distraints 
for his refusal to bear arms (Besse, Sufferings, vol. ii). 
3 Charter and Laws, p. 539. 


The Council and Assembly remained loyal to Penn and showed 
little willingness to meet the requests of the new Governor, who 
entered Philadelphia with the unwonted sight of a military escort. 
Fletcher at once asked the Assembly, on behalf of the Crown, for 
a grant to defend the frontiers of New York against the French 
and Canadian Indians. After a long discussion money was voted 
for general purposes, on the understanding that it should not be 
" dipt in blood." " They conceived," they said, " that this 
administration, though it suspended that of William Penn, was 
not to be at variance with the fundamental principles of the latter." 
The Governor, in great dissatisfaction, wrote to the King, setting 
forth the impossibility of obtaining a war vote from the Quakers 
of Pennsylvania and urging the propriety of forming the colony 
together with New York, the Jerseys, and Connecticut into one 
province, as the only way to outvote Friends and to obtain the desired 
supplies. The Privy Council directed the Attorney-General to 
scrutinize the patent of William Penn, in the hope that some flaw 
might be found in it sufficient to make it void. 1 

Early in 1694 Fletcher again applied to the Assembly, not for 
a war grant, but for one to supply the frontier Indians with gifts 
of food and clothing " to influence their continued friendship." 
Even this was not granted, though the members offered a tax to 
defray some of the expenses of government. Fletcher dissolved 
the Assembly, denying its right to make its own appropriations. 
This dispute was more a matter of privilege than of principle, 
and Penn himself thought the grant should be made. In August 
the government was restored to Penn, who appointed his cousin 
Markham (not a Quaker) as his deputy. Fletcher still, however, 
sent demands from New York for grants of men and money towards 
the common defence of the frontier, and in 1696 the Assembly 
struck a bargain by which in return for a vote of money to Indian 
necessities they obtained the old Penn constitution. 

The parliamentary principle that redress of grievances should 
precede supply was very firmly grasped by the Pennsylvania Assembly- 
men, and these demands by successive Governors gave them 
opportunities which they used to the full. But on the restoration 
of his proprietorship in 1694 Penn had given, or was understood 
to have given, a pledge which committed both himself and the 

1 Bowden, friends in America, ii. 133 (New Tori State Papers, September 1$, 


Assemblies more deeply than they were prepared to go. The Com- 
mittee on Trade and Plantations at Whitehall, August 1 and 3, 
1694, records that it had an interview with 

" Mr. Penn, who, having declared to their Lordships, that if 
their Majesties shall be graciously pleased to restore him to the 
Proprietary, according to the said grants, he intends with all 
convenient speed to repair hither, and take care of the government 
and provide for the safety and security thereof all that in him lies. 
And to that end he will carefully transmit to the Council and 
Assembly there all such orders as shall be given by their Majesties 
in that behalf ; and he doubts not but they will at all times dutifully 
comply with and yield obedience thereunto, and to all such orders 
and directions as their Majesties shall from time to time think fit 
to send, for the supplying such quota of men, or the defraying their 
part of such charges as their Majesties shall think necessary for the 
safety and preservation of their Majesties' dominions in that part of 

" Yield in circumstantials to preserve essentials " was Penn's 
advice once to the Assembly in reference to another matter. But 
the question of war and warlike preparations both to him and to the 
majority of the Assembly and Council, was an " essential " which 
they were not prepared to yield. It is true that the new patent granted 
to him made no mention of this proviso, and a promise to " transmit " 
requests pledged neither himself or the Assembly to grant them. 
But if the clause " he doubts not " is correctly reported (and there 
is no evidence to the contrary), Penn went further than this. President 
Sharpless, no harsh judge of the founder of Pennsylvania, comments : 
"It looks as if he intended to promise a course of action for the 
future, and then unload this promise upon a body which would 
not redeem it." 1 It is the least satisfactory moment of Penn's career, 
due probably to his desire to regain control of the " holy experiment," 
and to save it from the rough handling of unsympathetic Governors. 

From 1699 to 1701 he was in residence in his province, and 
during that time he had himself to " transmit " a request from the 
English Crown for a quota of 350 towards the fortifications upon 
the New York frontier. The Assembly was " paralysed " by the 

1 Sharpless, A Quaker Experiment, p. 194. In a reply to Colonel Quarry's 
charges some years later, Penn, however, expressly says in regard to military 
provision : " It is a mistake that I had my government restored to me upon 
those terms. Let the royal instrument be consulted " {Memoirs of Hist. Soc. 
Pennsylvania, ix. 27). 


request, and begged for a copy of Perm's speech, which was simply 
a reproduction of the royal message. He remained obstinately 
non-committal, and after a state of " unpleasant parley " for four 
days l the Pennsylvania delegates sent a formal refusal, pleading 
that, though loyal, the province was heavily burdened, and they 
believed that neighbouring colonies had as yet done nothing in the 
matter. They added that they wished the King to know of " our 
readiness (according to our abilities) to acquiesce with and answer 
his commands so far as our religious persuasions shall permit." The 
members from Delaware (where the Swedes had no objection to the 
principle of military defence) pointed out that as they had not been 
able to build defences at home, it was unreasonable to ask them to 
build " forts abroad." The harvest (always a convenient plea for the 
Assembly when it wished to postpone business) led to an adjournment. 
A month later Penn commended the matter to " their serious thought 
and care," but they unanimously refused the grant. 

The home Government had appointed Colonel Quarry as 
Admiralty representative in the province. He was independent 
of the proprietor, and became the leader of the " Church " party, 
which gradually gained in strength as the province advanced in 
prosperity and immigrants flocked to it. It was apparently about 
this time he sent home bitter complaints of the military weakness 
of the Government. " There is neither any militia established nor 
any provision made of arms or ammunition, but the country is left 
defenceless, and exposed to all hazards both by land and sea." Of 
this, he added, the Delaware representatives had often complained 
to Penn. Penn replied to the charge with the plain fact that, 
" There is as much (military provision) as there was in Colonel 
Fletcher's time." It is an " imposition " to say that a militia is 
necessary, " since by land there is none to annoy it and by sea . . . 
a small vessel of war would, under God's providence be the best 
security." 2 This was a spirited tu quoque to the Admiralty representa- 
tive, but when the war of the Spanish Succession broke out in 1701 
the home Government were sufficiently alarmed about the defence 
of America to consider a plan for annexing all the proprietary 
Governments to the Crown. Penn gave up his cherished dream 
of ending his days in Pennsylvania and returned home to defend 
it from this danger. 

1 These phrases are used by Clarkson, Life of Penn, p. 248. 

* Memoirs of Pennsylvania Historical Society, ii. part i. (1827), pp. 193-7- 


He left behind him a faithful representative of his interests 
in his secretary, James Logan, and a well-intentioned Governor, 
Colonel Hamilton, who, however, died within a few months and 
was succeeded by John Evans, than whom Penn could hardly have 
made a worse choice. The full and frequent correspondence which 
Logan kept up with Penn gives a lively picture of Pennsylvanian 
politics. Logan had become Penn's confidential secretary in 1699, 
at the age of twenty-five, and served his master and his heirs faith- 
fully for nearly fifty years, filling high office in the colony and acting 
in 1 731 as Deputy-Governor. He was an accomplished scholar and 
a man of great integrity, but he was harsh and unconciliatory in his 
attitude towards the popular party in the Province. Although born 
and bred a Friend, he was, especially in later years, an advocate of 
defence, and thus had not much influence in his religious body. 

Both Hamilton and Evans made attempts to form a volunteer 
militia from the non-Quaker portion of the population, but it was 
never a success, partly, according to Logan, because the Church 
party worked against it in the hope that its failure would be another 
count in the indictment against Penn, and partly because the " most 
ignorant " believed " that if they 'listed they would be forced to 
march towards Canada." 1 The rumours of a French alliance with 
the Iroquois caused much alarm to Logan, who wrote in a very 
warlike strain that an Indian danger must be resisted by an Indian 
alliance. " All Caesar's army would not cope with a few of them 
without the assistance of some of their own nation and mode of 
warfare." 3 Fear breeds cruelty, but a bookish Quaker's longing 
for the Indian " mode of warfare " is a strange manifestation of 
panic. There is a curious letter of September 1703, in which Logan 
seems to be arguing out the Quaker view with himself before his 
final abandonment of it. " I wish," he says, " thee could find more 
to say for our lying so naked and defenceless. I always used the 
best argument I could, and when I pleaded that we were a peaceable 
people, had wholly renounced war and the spirit of it, that we were 
willing to commit ourselves to the protection of God alone, in an 
assurance that the sword can neither be drawn nor sheathed, but by 
His direction, that the desolations made by it are the declaration 
of His wrath alone, and that those who will not the sword, but by 
an entire resignation commit themselves to His all-powerful provi- 

1 Historical Society of Pennsylvania, ix. (1870). Penn-Logan Correspondence, 
i. 124, 147. J Ibid., i. 88. 


dence, shall never need it, but be safe under a more sure defence 
than any worldly arm when I pleaded this, I really spoke my 
sentiments, but this will not answer in English Government, not the 
methods of this reign. Their answer is that should we lose our lives 
only, it would be little to the Crown, seeing 'tis our doing, but 
others are involved with us, and should the enemy make themselves 
master of the country it would too sensibly touch England in the 
rest of her colonies." 1 

Evans, however, was not the man to convert the Quaker 
Assembly to war views. He did not disguise his contempt for their 
principles, while the steady Quakers and their German neighbours 
were shocked by his loose life. In 1706 he tried to frighten them 
into military preparations by a false alarm. A messenger rode 
headlong into Philadelphia with the news that a French fleet was 
off the mouth of the Delaware. Evans, apparently in the greatest 
alarm, rode through the city with drawn sword calling on the 
inhabitants to arm. Logan gives a lively description of the panic 
that prevailed. Some buried their valuables, others fled to the forest, 
women fainted, and about three hundred citizens appeared in arms. 
" Friends were generally the quietest, yet many of them fled, but 
were miserably insulted and menaced by those that bore arms." 
From other sources it appears that the majority of Friends (then 
about half the population of the city) were quiet enough to hold 
their regular week-day meeting. Isaac Norris, a leading member 
of the Assembly, declared that " not a Friend of any note but 
behaved as becomes our profession." 3 Only four Friends were 
among the three hundred who took up arms ; the views of the 
Assembly were unaltered, and the effect of the trick was to discredit 
Evans. A few months later he induced the Delaware territory 
(which by this time had a separate Assembly) to build a fort at New 
Castle at the mouth of the river and to exact a tax for its maintenance 
(or " powder money ") from all incoming vessels, while those out- 
ward bound were challenged as they passed. This tax was both 
obnoxious in its application and a direct violation of the charter 
which granted " free and undisturbed use of the ports." After 
vain remonstrance Richard Hill and two other wealthy Friends 
ran a ship past the fort under fire from its guns, and when the 
commander put after them in a sloop, they allowed him to board, 

1 Historical Society of Pennsylvania, i. 227. 
* Penn-Logan Correspondence, ii. 122. 


and then making full speed carried him to New Jersey and handed 
him over as prisoner to Lord Cornbury the Governor. Cornbury, 
who also claimed rights over the river, gave the unfortunate officer 
a rough reception, and did not let him return without a promise 
to abandon the tax. After this, it was not possible for Governor 
and colonists to work together. The Assembly in 1707 petitioned 
Penn for his recall. The letter crossed with a very stern rebuke 
from the Proprietor to his deputy for several irregularities, and 
in particular for the attempt to extort fines in lieu of bearing arms 
from the Friends in the Delaware counties. " A thing that 
touches my conscience as well as honour ' He must be a silly shoe- 
maker that hath not a last for his own foot ' that any Friends 
should not be secure and easy under me, in those points that regard 
our very characteristics." 1 

In 1709 Evans was replaced by Gookin, an elder, and more 
experienced man. He did not, however, escape difficulties with 
the Assembly, both on military and other questions. The Queen 
sent a demand for quotas of men to be furnished and maintained 
by the various colonies towards an expeditionary force to Canada. 
Pennsylvania's share was a hundred and fifty men. Gookin, 
remembering the troubles of his predecessor, suggested as a satis- 
factory solution that instead of voting the men they should grant 
4,000 to cover expenses. " Perhaps it may seem difficult to raise 
such a number of men in a country where most of the inhabitants 
are of such principles as will not allow them the use of arms ; but 
if you will raise the sum for the support of government, I don't 
doubt getting the number of men desired whose principles will 
allow the use of arms." 3 

The Assembly refused to adopt this compromise or evasion, 
but some of its Quaker members met their brethren of the Council 
for consultation. The latter, Logan and others, were of opinion 
that though they could not vote money for war they might testify 
their loyalty to the Queen by a special grant to her. The Assembly 
agreed to grant 500 to be " put into a safe hand till they were 
satisfied from England it should not be employed for the use of war." 

1 Penn-Logan Correspondence, ii. 220. Throughout this period there were 
occasional alarms from pirates and privateers, who were said to find hiding-places 
along the undefended coasts. In 1709 a French privateer made a descent on 
Lewes. In 1747, the Assembly declined to fit out vessels to guard the Delaware 
River against pirates {Pennsylvania Magazine, x. 290). 

Colonial Records, ii. 740. 


The Governor refused this proposal, and the House adjourned. 
Gookin sent home a graphic account of his dilemma. The Assembly, 
" being all Quakers, after much delay resolved, nullo contradicente, 
that it was contrary to their principles to hire men to kill one another. 
I told some of them the Queen did not hire men to kill one another, 
but to destroy her enemies. One of them answered, the Assembly 
understood English." He " tried all ways to bring them to reason," 
but in vain. 1 

Logan says that the Jersey Assembly, in which Quakers were 
in the majority, also rejected the demand, " 'Tis said upon some 
advices from hence," that is from Philadelphia, and that Gookin 
had suggested that the money granted should be spent on provisions 
to be sent to Boston. 3 

It was at this time that Logan made his most querulous attacks 
upon his Quaker opponents in politics. " If Friends," he wrote 
to Penn,3 " after such a profession of denying the world, living 
out of it, and acting in opposition to its depraved ways, to which 
they have borne a testimony by the most distinguishing characters 
from any other people, cannot be satisfied, but must involve them- 
selves in affairs of Government, under another power and 
administration, which administration in many of its necessary points 
is altogether inconsistent with this profession I say, if this be the 
case, I cannot see why it should not be accounted singularly just 
in providence to deal to their portion crosses, vexations, and 
disappointments, to convince them of their mistakes and incon- 
sistency. I write freely as I think, and as I have often been 
obliged to express myself, tho' thou well knows I am no very 
pretender that way." 

Before the next requisition came, in 171 1, there had been a 
General Election, under which the party loyal to their Governor 
and his representative gained a sweeping victory, due mainly to 
the reaction after bitter attacks on Penn and Logan. None of the 
old Assembly were re-elected, but even the new members who 
represented the moderate and " weighty " Friends felt considerable 
repugnance to a war vote. Finally, they granted 2,000 " for the 

1 Historical Collections Relating to the American Colonial Church, Pennsylvania , 
p. 51. Quoted by Sharpless, Quaker Experiment, p. 201. 

1 Penn-Logan Correspondence, ii. 350. The dispute dragged on for several 

J Memoirs of Historical Society of Pennsylvania, x. {Penn-Logan Correspondence, 
ii. 351). The letter is dated 4th mo. 14, 1709. 


Queen's use." " We did not see it," said Isaac Norris, " to be 
inconsistent with our principles to give the Queen money, 
notwithstanding any use she might put it to ; that not being our 
part, but hers." 1 In fact, it was used by a later Governor not for 
war but for his personal expenses. 

At this time Penn was considering the transfer of his province 
to the Crown, under strict safeguards of his subjects' charter rights, 
but he was struck down by paralysis before the arrangement was 
completed. He lingered on till 17 18. During his illness and the 
minority of his sons, i.e. till 1725, Hannah Penn managed the 
affairs of the province with great wisdom, with the help of James 
Logan. For thirty years an " era of good feeling " prevailed. As 
far as military matters were concerned, the long peace prevented 
trouble. The Governor occasionally raised a volunteer militia, 
but there were no calls for war aids. 

"But, beginning with 1737, the gradual alienation of the 
Indian tribes made a disturbed frontier ready to be dangerous at the 
first outbreak of war, and new conditions prevailed." 3 At the same 
time the population in the province was rapidly increasing (in 1741 
it was estimated at 100,000) while the proportion of Friends 
decreased. Persecution had ceased in England and the new 
immigrants were largely Lutherans from the devastated Palatinate, 
who became the " Pennsylvania Dutch " of to-day, and Ulster 
Presbyterians who were driven from home by civil disabilities, 
and by the crushing of Irish industry by English legislation. The 
Lutherans for the most part raised no objection to the Quaker 
control, but the Ulstermen reinforced the old " Church " party 
of opposition, and " Quaker " and " Presbyterian " in the Assembly 
gradually became the titles of two political parties. 

Until the young Penns assumed control of the province there 
had been no friction between Indian and white man. Penn's most 
earnest efforts were directed towards the maintenance of good 
relations. In the admirable letter which he dispatched to the natives 
in 1 68 1 by his first deputy Markham, he informed them that his 
King had granted him territory : " But I desire to enjoy it with 
your love and consent that we may always live together as neighbour 
and friends, else what would the great God do to us, who hath 
made us, not to devour and destroy one another, but to live soberly 

1 Penn-Logan Correspondence, ii. 436. 
z Sharpless, Quaker Experiment, p. 203. 


and kindly together in the world ? Now I would have you well 
observe that I am very sensible of the unkindness and injustice that 
have been too much exercised towards you by the people of these 
parts of the world, who have sought themselves, and to make great 
advantages by you. . . . But I am not such a man, as is well known 
in my own country. I have great love and regard towards you and 
desire to win and gain your love and friendship by a kind, just and 
peaceable life ; and the people I send are of the same mind, and 
shall, in all things behave themselves accordingly ; and if in anything 
any shall offend you or your people, you shall have a full and speedy 
satisfaction for the same, by an equal number of just men on both 
sides." 1 

Markham was charged to meet the Indian chiefs in conference, 
to buy land for settlement from them by free bargaining, and at 
what they considered a fair rate of barter, and to explain that Penn 
had no wish to eject them from their hunting-grounds and that 
they were to enjoy the same protection at law as a white settler. 
There is little wonder that the Indians, in repeated treaties, declared 
that they would " live in peace with Onas and his children as long 
as the sun and the moon shall endure." Even before Penn left 
England he gave proof of his care for Indian interests. He was offered 
j 6,000 for a monopoly of the Indian trade, and refused. " I truly 
believe," wrote one of the would-be monopolists, " he does aim 
more at justice and righteousness and spreading of truth than at his 
own particular gain." Penn's own comment was : " I did refuse 
a great temptation last Second Day . . . but I would not defile 
what came to me clean." 2 

Through Penn's lifetime he gradually acquired south-eastern 
Pennsylvania, buying strips as the population increased, and fresh 
settlements were required. Bowden says that he paid, in all, the 
equivalent of 20,000.3 The practice of buying Indian rights was 
not new. The Dutch and Swedes had always done so, and many 
settlements in New England, though not all, had followed the 
practice. Rhode Island and New Jersey were acquired by purchase. 
In the southern colonies purchase was less frequent and trouble 
with the Indians had resulted from the omission. 

It was the acknowledged fairness of the methods adopted by 

* Bowden, Friends in America, ii. 58. 

* Hazard, Annals of Pennsylvania, p. 522. Pennsylvania Magazine, x. 189. 
3 Bowden, Friends in America, ii. 72. 


Penn and his settlers that marked them out from earlier intercourse 
(with the possible exception of Rhode Island). Care was taken 
not only to purchase, but to purchase from all who claimed rights 
in the territory. The Indians were not cheated in any way, in 
smaller transactions, such as the purchase of furs or game, they were 
given payment which contented them. Complaints by the settlers 
against Indians for theft or trespass were referred to the jurisdiction 
of the chiefs ; complaints by Indians against white men were fully 
investigated, and those guilty punished. The famous " treaty," 
probably made at Shackamaxon in June 1683 was only a type of 
the general relations between Quaker and Indians for the first six 
years of the settlement. It was not, as Voltaire said, " the only 
treaty," but one of a series of agreements " never confirmed by an 
oath and never broken." The Indians lived in peace and friendship 
with their neighbours, and in return the Friends tried, with little 
success, to bring them to Christianity, and to keep them from the 
vices and follies of civilization. 

In 1 701 the Assembly prohibited the selling of rum to the Indians, 
but the Yearly Meeting had pronounced its opinion on the matter 
years before. " It is not consistent with the honour of truth " 
(1685) "a thing contrary to the mind of the Lord, and great grief 
and burthen to his people, and a great reflection and dishonour to 
the truth" (1687). In 1719 it was made a disciplinary offence. 
The Indians appreciated the care of their friends. At an early 
conference in New Jersey one chief said the Dutch and Swedes 
who sold liquor to them were " blind, they had no eyes, they did 
not see it to be hurtful for us to drink it, although we knew it to 
be hurtful to us ; but if people will sell it to us we are so in love 
with it we cannot forbear it. . . . But now there is a people come 
to live among us that have eyes ; they see it to be for our hurt, they 
are willing to deny themselves the profit of it for our good. These 
people have eyes. We are glad such a people are come among us." 1 

From 1 68 1 to 1755 there was no conflict and no bloodshed 
between Pennsylvanians and Indians. There were often rumours 
that the tribes would be stirred up by their over-lords under French 
instigation to raid the settlements, and at such times a growing 
minority of non-Quaker settlers complained bitterly of their defence- 
less condition. But in actual fact the good relations were never 
disturbed. " Without any carnal weapon," wrote a Friend in early 

1 Janney, Life of Penn (1852), p. 123. 


days, " we entered the land and inhabited therein as safe as if there 
had been thousands of garrisons, for the Most High preserved us 
from harm, both man and beast." In 1688 a mysterious report 
arose that five hundred Indian warriors had assembled at an Indian 
" town," and were preparing to march on Philadelphia to massacre 
all the immigrants. The rumour was so persistent and alarming 
that the Council took cognizance of it, whereupon one of its 
members, Caleb Pusey, a leading Friend, offered to visit the alleged 
rendezvous, with five others, all unarmed. When the deputation 
reached the town, they found an old chief surrounded by women 
and children. The men were out on a hunting expedition, and the 
only ill-feeling shown was by the chief against the authors of the 
report, who, he declared, should be " burnt to death." 1 

After Penn's death, James Logan managed the relations with 
the Indians in the spirit of his old master, and he was fully supported 
by the Assembly. But two new factors were at work which he was 
unable to control. The Ulstermen and Germans naturally pressed 
forward to take up unoccupied lands. These newcomers cared 
little for Indian rights and settled where they chose. Even when 
Logan made them move, or paid for their holdings, friction had 
been caused ; and the whole attitude of these new frontiersmen 
was the Puritan one of contempt and dislike for the savage. The 
Lord had given them the land, and they were eager to smite the 
Amalekite. In any case, as the population grew, the difficulty of 
maintaining Indian hunting-grounds increased. But a more serious 
trouble was the avarice and chicanery of the proprietors. Penn's 
children had early left their father's sect, and with it they seemed 
to have left his policy of justice. Their aim was to extinguish all 
the Indian rights to the province, and between 1737 and 1754 
this was practically accomplished by means that do not stand 
investigation. Old deeds were examined, and their titles strained, 
chiefs were made drunk and induced to sign away their rights, the 
Iroquois, the feudal overlords of the Pennsylvania Indians, were 
called in to threaten and coerce the malcontents, and a whole series 

1 Proud, History of Pennsylvania, i. 337. In one of Penn's early reports 
from the colony (" A Further Account of Pennsylvania ") he alludes to a false 
report of a massacre by Indians circulated in England. " The dead people 
were alive at our last advices." He adds : " Our humanity obliges them (the 
Indians) so far that they generally leave their guns at home, when they come to 
our settlements. . . . Justice gains and awes them " {Pennsylvania Magazine, 
ix. 79). 


of misdeeds, of which the " Walking Purchase " was one of the 
earliest and most flagrant, were perpetrated. The " Walking 
Purchase " was based on an old agreement, never enforced, conveying 
land in a certain district to Penn, as far as a man could walk in a 
day and a half. Thomas Penn produced this deed, and sent to take 
the " walk " two trained runners who covered in the time more 
than sixty miles, and included land in Indian occupation which by 
no possibility could have been intended in the old agreement. 
Finally, in 1754, the Proprietors bought from the New York 
Iroquois, without consulting the majority of the Pennsylvania tribes, 
all the remaining territory in western Pennsylvania. The Delaware 
and Shawnee tribes were left with a sense of rank injustice, 
and as the French, after winning over most of the tribes on the 
Canadian frontier, approached the chiefs of Pennsylvania, they 
found ready listeners. 

The Assembly, and the Quakers as a body, had no power to check 
the proprietors, but they were guiltless of these wrongs. The 
Assembly did what it could, refusing to enforce the " Walking 
Purchase," and when the Penns, in alarm at the growing alienation 
of the Indians, tried to buy their good-will with gifts, the Assembly 
made grants on their own account for the same purpose, amounting 
to some 8,000 between 1733 and 1751. 1 

But, as the long peace showed signs of breaking up, the position 
of the Quakers in the Assembly grew more difficult. For years they 
held the majority of seats there and, under Hannah Penn, in the 
Council, while the Quaker body was gradually becoming a minority 
of the population, which in 1740 numbered about 100,000. This 
was partly due to the fact that after the Delaware counties had 
established a separate legislature, the three original Pennsylvania 
counties increased their representation in the Assembly, and as the 
new counties were added, these latter were considerably under- 
represented. But it is also true that the German element in the 
population voted steadily for the Quakers. The numbers of the 
Assembly were 36 : in 1740, 33 were Quakers ; in 1755, when 
their policy was fiercely assailed both in the province and in England, 
and when they were preparing to give up political power, 28 were 
returned at the election. The questions at issue were not confined 
to defence. The Assembly represented the democratic party, which 
took its stand on the rights of the charter, resisting any arbitrary 
1 Sharpless, The Quakers in the Re-volution, p. 22. 



encroachment by the Crown or the proprietors, and in this position 
the majority of the province were in hearty agreement with them. 
The old " Church " party naturally supported the Proprietors and 
were bitter against the Assembly, and in the later years of the period 
the Ulstermen on the frontier clamoured for expeditions against the 

Up to 1739, however, the "golden age" of Pennsylvania still 
flourished. "Between 17 10 and 1740 there was hardly a ripple 
of discontent, but everyone throve under, and rejoiced in the 
beneficent charter. Immigration was active, trade grew, peace 
was secure, taxes were practically unfelt, and the powers of the 
Assembly were unquestioned. But during the latter year the first 
serious demands were made for men and money for wars against 
England's enemies demands which grew greater with the succeeding 
years causing great uneasiness among the peace men of the 
province, and stirring up disputes as to the methods to be employed 
in raising the money. These troubles gradually but manifestly changed 
Pennsylvania from a colony remarkably free, prosperous, and 
unburdened, to one disunited and struggling under a heavy load of 
expenditure and consequent taxes." r 

In 1739 the first trouble began. England was at war with 
Spain, and Governor Thomas asked for a money grant and for the 
establishment of a militia, pointing out the defenceless state of the 
colony. In a series of long papers Governor and Assembly argued 
out the question. 2 The Assembly began : 

" As very many of the inhabitants of this province are of the 
people called Quakers, who, though they do not as the world is 
now circumstanced condemn the use of arms in others, yet are 
principled against it themselves, and to make any law against their 
consciences to bear arms would not only be to violate a fundamental 
in our constitution and be a direct breach of our charter of privileges, 
but would also in effect be to commence persecution against all that 
part of the inhabitants of the province, and should a law be made 
which should compel others to bear arms and exempt that part of 
the inhabitants, as the greater number in the Assembly are of like 
principles, would be an inconsistency with themselves and partial 
with respect to others " therefore they cannot accede to the 
Governor's request. The Governor replied that the Assembly 

1 Sharpless, Quakers in the Revolution, p. 16. 
J Colonial Records, iv. 366 foil. 


represented the whole province, not a sect, and it was their duty 
to arrange for its defence, not leaving the matter entirely to 
providence. He also emphasized the inconsistency of maintaining 
capital punishment, while objecting to war. To this the Assembly 
replied that the soldier fights " in obedience to the commands of his 
sovereign, and may possibly think himself in the discharge of his 
duty," while the burglar or other criminal " must know at the 
time of the commission of the act that it was a violation of laws, 
human and divine, and that he thereby justly rendered himself 
obnoxious to the punishment which ensued." The Governor asked 
them in despair : " Is it a calumny to say your principles are 
inconsistent with the ends of government ? " 

The dispute culminated in a letter from the Governor to the 
home authorities advising that Quakers should be excluded from 
the Assembly. The Assembly learned of this and indignation ran 
high in the next election, during which there was a street fight 
between the Governor's party and the German supporters of the 
Assembly. The Assembly was re-elected, and withheld the 
Governor's salary until he came to terms with them. Evidently 
there was much ill-feeling, and Dr. Fothergill, who from England 
followed the affairs of the province with intelligence and sympathy, 
wrote a letter of gentle rebuke to his friend Israel Pemberton, one 
of the leaders of the Assembly : 

" If I may be permitted to give my opinion of the management 
of your controversy with the Governor I can scarcely upon the 
whole forbear to take his side. Your cause is undoubtedly good, 
but I am afraid you discover a little more warmth than is quite 
consistent with the moderation we profess. ... Be pleased to 
remember that a deference is due to a magistrate in some sense 
though a wicked one." Pennsylvania Friends had asked the help 
of London Friends in this threat to their liberties, and Fothergill 
was one of a Committee of the Meeting for Sufferings which sat 
often on the matter. Petitions were presented and groups of Friends 
appeared before the Board of Trade in 1742 and the Committee 
of Council in 1743. 1 

The French War followed the Spanish, and in 1744 Thomas 

was able (with the active help of Benjamin Franklin) to raise a 

volunteer militia of ten thousand men. Next year, after the fall 

of Louisburg, the Assembly was called upon to provide men and 

> Dr. Hingston Fox, Dr. John Fothergill and his Friends, p. 301. 


arms. Again they protested that they could not vote munitions of 
war, but as " tribute to Caesar," granted 4,000 for " bread, beef, 
pork, flour, wheat, or other grain." Franklin says that the Governor 
spent the money on gunpowder, declaring that that was the " other 
grain " intended. During the next ten years there were several 
calls for military aid, and on each occasion the Assembly granted 
money " for the King's use." But, as the grants were always used 
for war, the position of the Quakers in the Assembly was becoming 
very difficult, and the crisis was hastened by pressure both within 
the Society and by their enemies without. In the Society itself there 
were by this time three fairly clear divisions. A certain number 
followed James Logan in justifying defensive war and warlike 
preparations. At this time they were much under Franklin's influence, 
who supported the " Quaker party " in the Assembly in their 
resistance to the claims of the Crown and the Proprietors, though 
he had no sympathy with their peace views. Franklin had formed 
a volunteer fire brigade of thirty members in Philadelphia, of whom 
twenty-two were Quakers. In 17445 he proposed that the brigade 
funds should be invested in a lottery which he had started to provide 
a battery on the river. Franklin and his seven friends met to consider 
the proposal and one Quaker to oppose it. " We carried the resolu- 
tion eight to one ; and as of the twenty-two Quakers, eight were 
ready to vote with us, and thirteen, by their absence, manifested 
that they were not inclined to oppose the measure, I afterwards 
estimated the proportion of Quakers sincerely opposed to defence 
as one to twenty-one only." Excessive scrupulousness was never 
one of Franklin's failings, and this remarkable calculation neglects 
to consider that, as the stricter Quakers had considerable mistrust 
of his principles, they were not likely to have joined his brigade. 1 
On the next page of his Autobiography he contradicts his own 
assertion by saying of the second division of the Friends those who 
were members of the legislature that in regard to war votes, 
" they were unwilling to offend Government, on the one hand, by 

1 Samuel Fothergill, brother of the Doctor, and himself a famous Quaker 
minister, paid a long visit to America from 1754 to 1756. In the spring of the 
latter year he wrote of a disrespectful address from the Assembly to the Governor : 
" It is altogether imputed to B. Franklin, their principal penman, who, I have 
sometimes thought, intended to render the Assembly contemptible, and subject 
our religious Society to the imputation of want of respect for authority, as a 
factious sort of people and I fear he has gained his point " (Sharpless, Quaker 
Experiment, p. 248). Franklin himself, in his Autobiography, admits the disrespect 
of these addresses. 


a direct refusal ; and their friends, the body of the Quakers, on the 
other, by a compliance contrary to their principles." 

These Quaker Assemblymen, as has been said, ultimately found 
themselves on the horns of a dilemma. While Penn was in control 
they could confide in his support, and in the twenty years of peace 
after his death they managed the affairs of the province without 
qualms of conscience. But from 1739 to 1756 they progressed 
along a slippery path of compromise. The Proprietors were 
unsympathetic, and the English Government was warlike, and 
eventually the Assembly was forced to provide the financial means 
for war. On the other hand, they were able to maintain the rights 
of the charter, and to ward off" the imposition of compulsory military 
service. At last the policy broke down. It was too pacific for the 
war party, and too warlike for the Yearly Meeting, and the two 
currents of opposition swept over the Assembly in the same 
year, 1755/6. 

Before 1739 the Yearly Meeting had no occasion to concern 
itself with any danger to the peace principle of Friends. In that 
year it issued a paper urging its members to keep clear of any warlike 
preparations, and " to demonstrate to the world that our practices, 
when we are put to the trial, correspond to our principles." From 
this time onward both the Yearly Meeting and Philadelphia Quarterly 
Meeting keep in close touch with the London Meeting for Sufferings, 
sending that body full information of the situation in Pennsylvania, 
and receiving in return advice and help in putting the Quaker case 
before the English authorities. 

In 1 741, during the Assembly's dispute with Governor Thomas, 
James Logan made an attempt to influence the views of the Yearly 
Meeting. He sent a letter to them in which, while admitting that 
Friends held as a principle the unlawfulness of all war (though he 
himself believed in defensive war), yet as they now constituted only 
a third of the population, he considered they had no right to impose 
their views on others. Hence he urged that Friends should not 
offer themselves as candidates at the coming General Election. In 
accordance with its usual practice the Yearly Meeting handed the 
letter unopened to a small committee, who retired to consider it, 
and reported that it " related to the civil and military affairs of the 
Government, and in their opinion was unfit to be read in this 
meeting." A contemporary letter-writer (not a Friend), in telling 
the story, adds a graphic touch. One Friend rose to advocate the 


reading of Logan's paper, as a token of respect to him, " but 
John Bringhouse plucked him by the coat, and told him with a 
sharp tone of voice, ' Sit thee down, Robert, thou art single in the 
opinion.' " * 

Although the majority of Friends dissented from Logan's 
general argument, there had always been an appreciable number 
who held the same conclusion that Friends should not engage 
in politics. This view, however (which it is evident from Logan's 
letters to Penn was held even at the beginning of the century) 3 
was based not on expediency, but on religious grounds. It was 
felt that there was danger both of inconsistency and of spiritual 
loss for those members who were preoccupied with affairs of 
State. The attitude of the Assembly during these years of war 
strengthened this conviction among the general body of Friends, 
and the events of the years 1755 and 1756 hastened the final 

In 1754, when the first alarm of the French and Indian troubles 
arose, the Governor, at the urgent request of the Penns, tried to 
induce the Assembly to establish a compulsory militia and, failing 
in this, he wrote home angrily of the " absurdity " of the Pennsyl- 
vania constitution and of Quaker principles. The evil policy of 
the Proprietors towards the Indians now bore its fruit, and the 
frontier Indians were in undoubted league with the French. Panic 
prevailed, and as Braddock led his expedition through the province, 
he received much private support (Franklin working indefatigably 
for him), and the Assembly voted grants for provisioning the army 
and for presents to the Indian tribes, in the hope of buying their 
friendship. Braddock's defeat loosed the pent-up tide of Indian 
passion, and for the first time the Pennsylvania settlers on the frontier 
experienced the atrocities which for generations had been sadly 
familiar to other colonists. 

1 Vide Franklin, Autobiography ; Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Records, 1741 ; 
Pennsylvania Magazine, vi. 403, which gives the text of Logan's letter. 

2 E.g. in 1702 he writes that " the most knowing " Friends think Government 
ill-fitted to their principles (Penn-Logan Correspondence, i. 147). So also in 1708 
(letter published in Bulletin of Friends'' Historical Society (Philadelphia), May, 1916). 
In 1757, Lord Loudoun, Commander-in-Chief in America, wrote home to Pitt, 
after an attempt to raise men and money in the Jerseys, " Altho' I have been a 
great favourer of the Quakers, I am thoroughly convinced since I came to this 
country that they are very unfit to be employed in any public employment " 
(Gummere, Quaker in the Forum, p. 147). 


Some writers, notably the American historians, Parkman and 
Fiske, 1 have argued that the Delaware and Shawnee Indians of 
Pennsylvania, being subject to their Iroquois overlords, were a 
poor-spirited race, and that Pennsylvania's immunity from trouble 
had been due to this rather than to Penn's policy. But now it was 
not only the fiercer tribes, but Penn's old allies, who scalped and 
tomahawked their victims. An English Friend, Samuel Fothergill, 
who was in Pennsylvania at this time, noted in his letters home, 
of the land wrested from the Delawares in 1742, that " it is pretty 
much in this land, and land fraudulently obtained, that the barbarities 
are committed." There is other evidence that settlers in regularly 
purchased land felt themselves comparatively safe. Kelsey, 
Friends and the Indians, while admitting that Friends generally lived 
in the earlier-settled and safer districts, adds : " Yet it seems very 
clear from the records that at the opening of the war there were 
Friends in the outlying settlements exposed to the Indians. . . . 
In 1756 the Meeting for Sufferings was established, chiefly because 
of the disturbances on the frontier, and its first duty was ' to Hear 
and Consider the Cases of any Friends under Sufferings, especially 
such as suffer from the Indians or other Enemies.' " He also quotes 
a letter of Israel Pemberton in 1758 : "In all the desolation on 
our frontiers, not one Friend we have heard of has been slain or 
carried captive, and we have reason to think, both from their conduct 
in places where Friends were as much exposed as others and from 

* their declarations to us, they (the Indians) would never hurt Friends 
if they knew us to be such." 2 Philadelphia, however, was filled 
with refugees, whose tales of horror roused strong feeling against 
the Assembly. Scenes like the following, which John Woolman 
saw a few months later, were common : " The corpse of one so slain 
(by the Indians) was brought in a wagon, and taken through the 
streets of the city in his bloody garments, to alarm the people and 
rouse them to war. "3 

Nevertheless, in spite of the feeling in Philadelphia, the country 
Germans, who were more exposed to the danger, voted steadily 
for the Quakers. In the Assembly of 1755 twenty-eight of the 
thirty-six members were Friends, or closely connected with the 

Parkman in Conspiracy of Pontiac, i. 80-5, and Fiske in The Dutch and 
Quaker Colonies, ii. 164 foil., and elsewhere. 

* Kelsey, Friends and the Indians, pp. 74-6. Letter of Pemberton printed 
in Philadelphia Friend, 1873, P* l %7 

3 Woolman, Journal. 


body. In a long letter to the London Meeting for Sufferings, 
defending the Quaker members of the Assembly, the Quarterly 
Meeting of Philadelphia says : l 

" Our former representatives were at our last election chosen 
throughout the province by the greatest majority ever known. . . . 
And it is remarkable that for sixteen years successively, more than 
half of which was a time of war, a set of men conscientiously 
principled against warlike measures have been chosen by those of 
whom the majority were not in that particular of the same 
principle ; and this we apprehend may be chiefly attributed to the 
repeated testimonies we have constantly given of our sincere and 
ready disposition to provide for the exigencies of the Government 
. . in such manner as we can do with peace and satisfaction of 
mind." The main ground of the defence was the service rendered 
by the Assemblies in maintaining the constitution against " arbitrary 
and oppressive measures." 

But the new Assembly was soon to prove too warlike for 
Friends, while still not satisfying its enemies ; 55,000 was voted 
for the relief of loyal Indians and " other purposes," and was 
immediately applied to the erection of a chain of forts upon the 
frontier. In the autumn the first Militia law of Pennsylvania was 
passed : 

" Whereas this province was first settled by (and a majority of the 
Assemblies have ever since been of) the people called Quakers . . . 
yet forasmuch as by the general toleration and equity of our laws, 
great numbers of people of other religious denominations are come 
amongst us, . . . some of whom have been disciplined in the art 
of war, and conscientiously think it their duty to fight in defence 
of their country, their wives, their families, and their estates, and 
such have an equal right to liberty of conscience with others," 
and had petitioned for the right to form a militia, accordingly 
provisions were made for this step, with due exemptions for those 
" conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms." 2 The legislature 
for the Delaware counties introduced an Act without such exemp- 
tions. At this time John Woolman, attending the Yearly Meeting, 
found some Friends shared his scruples against paying the new taxes 
obviously intended for war, while others saw no objection. The 

1 5 th mo - 5 J 755- 

The text of the Act was reproduced in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1756, 

p. 53, as well as a dialogue in its favour (p. 122). The latter was written by 

Franklin, and in his Autobiography he claims most of the credit for the Act. 


Yearly Meeting finally left the matter to the individual conscience 
of Friends, many of whom during the next few years refused to 
pay and suffered distraint, though James Pemberton admitted 
that the majority " not only comply with it, but censure those who 
do not." 

During the Yearly Meeting, and at the time of the passing of 
the Militia bill (November 1755) a deputation of some of the leaders 
of the Society, Israel and John Pemberton, Anthony Benezet, 
and others, approached the Assembly with a protest against the 
war taxes, a warning that they personally would not pay them, 
and a plea that the representatives might pursue " measures consistent 
with our peaceable principles, and then we trust we may continue 
humbly to confide in the protection of that Almighty Power whose 
providence hath hitherto been as walls and bulwarks about us." 
This was practically a censure on the Quaker members of the 
Assembly, and the majority showed their resentment by describing 
the address as " unadvised and indiscreet." But the Yearly Meeting 
was anxious to clear itself of all suspicion of compromise. In its 
1756 Epistle to London it urged Friends at home to draw a clear 
distinction " between the acts and resolutions of the Assembly of 
this province, though the majority of them are our brethren in 
profession, and our acts as a religious Society." Samuel Fothergill, 
who was in touch with all the currents of opinion among Pennsyl- 
vania Friends, wrote bluntly : " The Assembly have sold their 
testimony as Friends to the people's fears, and not gone far enough 
to satisfy them." 

The matter was complicated by financial disputes with the 
Governor and the Penns. The latter were more anxious to secure 
for their great estates exemption from the war taxes than even to 
arrange for the defence of the colony, while the people and the 
Assembly were determined that they should share the burden. 
Complaints from Governor and Proprietors of factious opposition, 
and a petition from leading Philadelphians protesting against the 
weakness of the colony's defences, due to the Quaker tenets of the 
Assembly, reached the English Ministry. 

In February 1756 counsel for these petitioners were heard in 
London before the Board of Trade and Plantations. 1 

1 Vide Pennsylvania Magazine, x. 283 foil. (" Attitude of the Quakers in the 
Provincial Wars," by C. J. Still6). This is an interesting and impartial investiga- 
tion, although Dr. Stille tends to look upon the Assembly as thoroughly representa- 
tive of the Society of Friends. 


Their main requests to the English Government were two 
to exclude all Quakers from the Assembly and, inconsistently enough, 
to veto the Militia Bill passed by the Assembly in the previous 
November. This was nominally on the ground that such a Bill 
was a usurpation of the rights of the Crown. In fact, as Dr. Stille 
remarks, it was from fear that the measures taken would leave them 
without reasonable ground of complaint against the existing 
Assembly. " The chain of forts so effectually protected the province 
that from the time they were established no English or French 
invaders ever came through them." 1 The speech for the petitioners 
was unscrupulous in its misrepresentations, and in particular in 
its entire identification of the Society of Friends and the Assembly, 
at a time when the breach between them was most acute. For 
example, it alleged that, " the Quakers in Pennsylvania have, upon 
every application, for sixteen years now passed, refused to raise a 
militia, refused to put the country in a posture of defence, refused 
to raise men or money for the King's service, declared themselves 
principled against all military measures and, at length, declared 
even self-defence to be unlawful and that, at a time when the 
Indians and enemy were in the heart of their country, burning 
and destroying the inhabitants with unheard-of cruelties and 
barbarities." The Assembly had just passed a Defence Bill and 
voted 55,000 for military purposes, as was admitted by the petitioners 
themselves. The "canting Quakers," went on the lawyer, had 
settled themselves out of danger (in " the heart of the country," 
perhaps), and it was evident from the " insolent address " presented 
to the Assembly, that that body was " led by the nose by that illegal 
cabal, called their Yearly Meeting and their Quarterly Meeting." 
Yet this very address had been sharply rebuked by the Assembly. 
The Militia Bill, through its conscience clause, was none other 
than a Bill to make " Quaker proselytes," and " when persons in 
power declare as these do, we cannot, we will not, defend, the 
bond and first principle of society and of nature itself is broke and 
dissolved, and they ought not to govern." 

The Board of Trade heard the defence of the Assembly from 
Richard Partridge, a Friend and the London representative of 
Pennsylvanian interests, but its final reply was ominous. It 
declared that the " measures taken by the Assembly for the defence 
of the province were improper, inadequate, and ineffectual, and 

Vide Pennsylvania Magazine, p. 302. 


that there was no cause to hope for other measures while the majority 
of the Assembly consisted of persons whose avowed principles were 
against military service." 

The London Meeting for Sufferings, which included men 
such as Dr. Fothergill and David Barclay, in close touch with 
members of the Court and Ministry, discovered that the home 
Government was seriously considering the exclusion of Quakers 
from all legislative and civil office, not only in Pennsylvania, but 
throughout America, by the imposition of an oath. The Meetings' 
records during the spring and summer of 1756 show the time, care, 
and anxiety expended by the " Committee on Pennsylvania," led 
by Fothergill, in averting this crisis. 1 A " Nobleman in high 
station " assured them of " the general and strong prepossession " 
against Quakers, excited by garbled accounts from Pennsylvania. 
He strongly urged that the Quaker members of the Assembly should 
voluntarily retire from office, resigning " a trust which under present 
circumstances they could not discharge." " Other persons in high 
stations " concurred in this advice, which the Committee accepted, 
believing that the majority of the members only held their seats 
from a sense of duty, and would readily resign if that course seemed 
best. The Meeting for Sufferings agreed to the report and decided 
not only to write in that sense to the Quarterly Meeting of Phila- 
delphia, but also to send over a deputation of two Friends to support 
the advice in person. The letter earnestly pressed resignation upon 
the Assembly members, " as your own immediate interest, the 
preservation of your charter, and our reputation jointly require it." 
Fothergill also sent a personal letter to James Pemberton, urging 
the necessity of the step. Everyone, he said, had told him that " you 
accept of a public trust which at the same time you cannot discharge. 
You owe the people protection and yet withhold them from protecting 
themselves." What answer, he adds, can we make ? Samuel 
Fothergill, in Philadelphia, also used all his influence to the same 
end. 2 

The Exclusion Bill was only held in abeyance by the Meeting's 
assurance that Friends would voluntarily give up office. Before 
the deputation arrived matters had already moved in the desired 
direction. In April 1756, as the raids of the Delaware Indians 

1 Meeting for Sufferings, 1756 ; 4th mo. 9 ; 6th mo. 18 ; 7th mo. 9 ; 
8th mo. 6. 

* Dr. Hingston Fox, Dr. John Fothergill and his Friends, p. 308. 


continued, " after full consideration and debate, all the Council 
(except Mr. Logan, who desired his dissent might be entered on 
the minutes) agreed that the Governor ought not to delay declaring 
war against the enemy Indians. The bounties for prisoners and 
scalps were then considered and agreed to." z 

So opened Pennsylvania's first Indian war, after more than 
seventy years of peace. Mr. Logan was William, son of James Logan, 
and himself a Friend. Earlier in the debate he had supported an 
address presented by Friends to the Governor, begging that further 
efforts should be made towards peace, since they believed that by 
presents and negotiations these tribes could be won back to their 
old friendship. But when the war began, when bands of friendly 
Indians and of frontier settlers wreaked fierce retaliation for their past 
sufferings, sending in to Philadelphia the scalps of Indian men and 
women, then the Quaker members of the Assembly had to choose 
between active support or open condemnation of these measures. 
In June, six resigned, led by James Pemberton, making this 
statement : 

" As many of our constituents seem of opinion that the present 
situation of public affairs calls upon us for services in a military way, 
which from a conviction of judgment after mature deliberation 
we cannot comply with, we conclude it most conducive to the 
peace of our minds and the reputation of our religious profession 
to persist in our resolution of resigning our seats." 2 At the election 
in the autumn other Friends refused to stand and many of the Society 
abstained from voting, in the hope of preventing the election of 
any fellow members. But through the efforts of the " war " Quakers 
and the democratic party, some sixteen, in close connection with 
the Society, were chosen. At this point the English delegation arrived, 
and through their labours and those of a committeee of the Yearly 
Meeting four more members resigned their seats, while twelve 
Quakers or nominal Quakers remained. " Several of these are 
not acknowledged by us as members of the Society," Philadelphia 
Friends explained in a letter to London, December 1756. 

So ended the Quaker predominance in Pennsylvanian govern- 
ment. It had lasted for seventy- five years and had broken down 

1 Colonial Records, viii. 84. The Council consisted of ten members, four 
of whom were Quakers or of Quaker origin (Howard Jenkins, Pennsylvania, 
Colonial and Federal History, p. 452). 

* Votes of {Pennsylvania) Assembly, iv. 564. 


under pressure from external forces. Pennsylvania was never an 
independent State, at all times it was subject to the interferences 
of the home authorities, and after the death of Penn the Proprietors 
were in sympathy with the demands of the Crown rather than with 
the charter rights of the original settlers. It was not the policy of 
the colony itself, but the clash of French and English interests, 
which put the Quaker legislators to the hard necessity of voting 
monies to the Crown, which they knew would be used in warfare. 
While Penn's policy towards the Indians was maintained no breath 
of trouble stirred between settler and red man ; had it been continued 
by his children and adopted by the other colonies the danger from 
the French in Canada would have been almost negligible. But it 
is impossible to inflict a succession of wrongs on a proud and savage 
race without reaping, in due course, a bloody retribution. It was the 
unfair dealing of the younger Penns that mainly brought about the 
failure. Divided responsibility and opposing policies were sure, in 
the end, to spell disaster. A second cause, which worked concurrently 
with the former, was due, ironically enough, to the success of another 
of Penn's ideals. A State founded on universal toleration attracted 
to it an amazing number of immigrants and, as its prosperity increased, 
many entered who had no sympathy with its foundation principles. 
If Quakerism had retained the white heat of its early convictions, 
the newcomers might have been convinced of the truth, not of an 
isolated principle, but of the whole body of Quaker doctrine. That 
they were not is additional evidence of the fact that (to quote Samuel 
Fothergill) " the salt had lost its savor." The Quaker legislators 
were upright and conscientious men, but, as preceding pages have 
shown, they were timorous, and fumbled long at compromises before 
they realized their untenable position. The religious leaders of the 
Society were men of proved holiness and sincerity, but they had 
largely lost the missionary zeal of the first generation and were 
more concerned to repair breaches in the traditional faith than to 
spread their message far and wide. This judgment is not true without 
important qualifications as regards individuals, 1 but the swamping 
of the Quaker by the non-Quaker element in the province after 
the middle of the eighteenth century, attests its general accuracy. 
The influence of European war, the alienation of the Indians, 
the warlike tendencies of the new immigrants such were the 
external causes of the change of control. 

1 For example, Thomas Story, Anthony Benezet, and John Woolman. 


The extent and influence of an internal cause the loss of 
spiritual power within the Society could only be gauged by a 
very close study of the records and religious biographies of the time, 
but contemporary allusions show that it certainly must be taken 
into account. President Sharpless raises the question what might 
have happened if the members of the Assembly had retained both 
their principles and their places, maintaining the same policy in 
government as their brethren did in Indian raid or Irish rebellion, 
not evading danger but calmly facing it. 1 They certainly never lost 
in the country districts the confidence of the voters, who were only 
too anxious to choose Quaker representatives in the twenty years 
before the Revolution. Later events seem to show that they could 
have won back the Indians to alliance. On the other hand, a steady 
though passive resistance to English demands might have hastened 
the breach between Crown and colonies. It is more relevant to 
the discussion to recall the many successes of Penn's " holy experi- 
ment," in spite of all obstacles. In regard to peace, it is true that 
for seventy years there was neither war nor rebellion, the frontiers 
were secure without forts, and the harbours without men-of-war. 
" Peace and justice were for two generations found available defences 
for a successful State. ... As long as exact justice prevailed, peace 
existed, and this is the lesson of Pennsylvania." 2 

1 Sharpless, A Quaker Experiment, p. 260. * Ibid., pp. 275-6. 



Although the Quaker control of the Pennsylvania Assembly 
ended in 1756, the colonists continued to return representatives 
who, except in regard to defence, maintained the old policy. Up 
to the Revolution the majority of the Assembly was known to its 
opponents as the " Quaker " party. Isaac Norris, the younger, 
remained Speaker until his death in 1764, and signed various Bills 
for war purposes. His father had been a close friend of James Logan. 
But the influence of the Society was strongly against the entrance 
of Friends into the legislature. The Philadelphia Meeting for 
Sufferings the first in America was established in 1756 partly 
to meet the troubles due to the Delaware Militia Bill and the 
Pennsylvania war taxes. 1 Both it and the Yearly Meeting issued 
repeated cautions to Friends against taking any active part in politics. 
When peace came, however, some Friends felt that their scruples 
were allayed, especially as the Assembly disbanded the military forces, 
leaving only one hundred and fifty men in the State militia. For 
some years after 1765 even James Pemberton resumed his seat, 
although he resigned again before the troubles with England became 
acute. But the efforts of the official bodies always kept the actual 
Quaker element in the Assembly small. 

The real activity of the Society was displayed not in the legisla- 
ture, but in some important, though unofficial, negotiations with 
the Indians. The Quaker Memorial to the Governor in April 1756, 
before the declaration of war, while pleading for another attempt 
to preserve peace, had added : 

1 The New York Meeting for Sufferings was founded in 1759, also as a result 
of the war with France. The fullest account of Pennsylvania Quakerism between 
the Seven Years' and the Revolutionary Wars is found in Sharpless, Quakers in 
the Revolution, chaps, i-v. 



" We hope to demonstrate by our conduct that every occasion 
of assisting and relieving the distressed, and contributing towards 
the obtaining of peace in a manner consistent with our peace- 
able profession, will be cheerfully improved by us, and even 
though a much larger part of our estates should be necesssary 
than the heaviest taxes of a war can be expected to require, we 
shall cheerfully, by voluntary presents, evidence our sincerity 

Not only did they contribute liberally to the relief of the refugee 
settlers from the frontiers, but " The Friendly Association for Gaining 
and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Means " was 
formed under the leadership of such Friends as Israel Pemberton and 
Anthony Benezet, who had been foremost in opposition to the Quaker 
membership of the Assembly. These friends went out again and 
again beyond the frontier, at the peril of their lives to confer with 
the Indians, and none of the " children of Onas " (Penn) as the 
Indians called them came to any harm. With some of the German 
peace sects, they raised between five and six thousand pounds, which 
was partly applied to the ransom of prisoners, but mainly to an attempt 
to win back by gifts the Pennsylvania Indians to their old friendship. 
They believed, rightly as it proved, that these tribes were not 
irretrievably alienated, and that by a full and frank discussion of 
grievances, the situation might be cleared up. Between 1756 and 
1758 several conferences were held by the Governor and delegates 
from the legislature with these tribes, which representatives of the 
Friendly Association attended at the express request of the Indians, 
to ensure fair treatment, though their presence was not always 
welcomed by the colonial officials. Tedyuscung, chief of the Dela- 
wares, showed considerable skill in setting forth the old grievances 
of his people at the fraudulent dealings of the past, and in the end 
the wronged tribes received, in addition to the Quaker gifts, some 
compensation for their lost lands, while the former treaties of 
friendship were renewed. The Friendly Association was bitterly 
reproached by the " Presbyterian " party for its share in the 
negotiations, but there is no doubt that Israel Pemberton stated 
their true motives : 

" If we can but be instrumental to restore peace to our country 
and retrieve the credit of it with our former kind neighbours, but 
of late bloody enemies, we shall have all the reward we desire. The 


name of a Quaker of the same spirit as William Perm is still in the 
highest estimation among their old men." 1 

The frontier war flared out again in 1764 after the conspiracy 
of Pontiac, this time, however, mainly with the Algonquin and 
Iroquois Indians, and the Friendly Association again worked for 
peace. 2 

But in the interval another Indian trouble brought deep concern 
and even division to the Philadelphia Quakers. Some twenty friendly 
Indians, mainly women and children, the last remnants of the once 
powerful Conestoga tribe, were murdered in December 1763 by a 
lynching party of Irish Presbyterians from Paxton. The crime was 
inspired partly by the general principle that the only good Indian 
was a dead Indian, partly by the wish to avenge the frontier's sufferings 
at the hands of more warlike tribes, and partly by an unfounded 
suspicion of treachery. The whole tribe was extirpated, some were 
killed at their homes, and others in Lancaster gaol, where they had 
been placed for safety. The province as a whole was indignant, 
but the border settlers supported the " Paxton boys," who were 
never brought to justice. Growing bolder, they marched with 
two or three hundred sympathizers towards Philadelphia, declaring 
that they would destroy not only a band of Moravian Christian 

1 Quoted in Friend (Philadelphia), xlvi. 187. See also Charles Thomson, 
The Alienation of the Delaware and Shazvnese Indians. Thomson, as a young man, 
acted as secretary for Tedyuscung at some of the Conferences. In the Revolutionary 
War he was Secretary to the Continental Congress. The Gentleman's Magazine 
(1757, p. 474 and 1759, p. 109) gives brief reports of some of these negotiations. 
One of the current slanders of the time against the Quakers was revived in the 
correspondence columns of the Spectator (February 26, 1916), in the quotation of 
an official report containing the allegations of an Indian chief against the Friendly 
Association. He stated that some Quakers had urged the Iroquois chiefs of the 
Six Nations to spare the Pennsylvania setders, " but, if you incline to carry on 
a war against any nation, we have everything fit to kill men in plenty, such as 
guns, swords, hatchets, powder, lead, clothing, and provisions, which we are ready 
to furnish you with. . . . You must kill the soldiers only, and not us. . . . 
You may kill men enough in other parts of the country without coming here." 
This remarkable statement was sent by the officer who received it in 1757 to Lord 
Loudoun, Commander-in-Chief of the forces in America, and in the following 
year to Abercromby, his successor. Loudoun paid no attention to it, Abercromby 
forwarded it to the military commander in Philadelphia, who took no action. 
The work of the Friendly Association was carried on in the most open way, and 
it is incredible that any episode so flagrantly inconsistent with its professed aims 
and the principles of its leaders, should not have been trumpeted abroad by their 
opponents, if it had had any foundation in fact. 

The New Jersey Indians were also involved in these negotiations, and Friends 
of that province formed a similar association for their benefit. In 1763, John 
Woolman paid a religious visit to the Indians of the Susquehanna Valley. 



Indians, who had been sent for shelter to the city, but the Quakers 
who had taken the lead in the Friendly Association. This was in 
February 1764. When these frontiersmen appeared in threatening 
array at Germantown on the outskirts of Philadelphia, the citizens 
armed themselves to resist and to defend their helpless clients. But 
force was not needed. The settlers had brought with them a state- 
ment of grievances, and through Franklin's negotiations they were 
induced to lay these before the Governor (Richard Penn) and to 
return home. They did not obtain their most legitimate demand 
for an increased representation in the Assembly, but they were 
placated by the Governor's offer of a reward for the scalps of hostile 
Indians, which turned their activities into that channel. They had 
left behind them trouble among the Friends. Many of the younger 
men had rushed to arms to defend the Indians and their elders, and 
had even used the meeting-house as a shelter for themselves and their 
weapons on that stormy February day. James Pemberton wrote of 
them to Dr. Fothergill : 

" It was matter of sorrowful observation to behold so many 
under our name (it is supposed about two hundred) acting so contrary 
to the ancient and well-grounded principle of our profession, the 
testimony whereof suffered greatly on this occasion, and furnished 
our adversaries with a subject of rejoicing, who will make no 
allowance for the instability of youth ; they who take up arms being 
mostly such who could scarcely be expected to stand firm to the 
testimony upon a time of so sudden and uncommon a trial, or such 
who do not make much profession." 

Many of these young men belonged to that section of the Society 
in Philadelphia which had supported Franklin's defensive measures 
and which was to take active part in the Revolution. In March, 
their Monthly Meetings, through a committee, began to labour 
with them. From the committee's periodical reports it appears 
that a considerable number at once acknowledged their error, some 
thirty or more of whom " were in their minority, and appeared 
much unacquainted with the grounds of Friends' testimony herein." 
Some justified their action as the defence of the helpless against 
lawless violence and a few maintained the lawfulness of defensive 
war. The work of the committee went on until 1767, by which 
time many had made public acknowledgment of their fault to their 
meeting. A few were still convinced that they had acted rightly, 
but even these promised to be more circumspect in future. With 


this the meetings appeared satisfied, for no member was disowned. 
Samuel Wetherill, one of the " fighting Quakers " of the Revolu- 
tionary War, declared years afterwards that during the alarm " not 
an individual of the Society appeared to discountenance the thing." 
This statement is not borne out by contemporary letters and records ; 
probably the judgment of an English Friend represented the general 
view. It was, he admitted, " a very singular and extraordinary 
case," being to oppose an armed band of murderers, yet the full 
maintenance of the peace testimony was " of very great importance 
to the whole Society." 

In their petitions to the Governor the frontiersmen had included 
bitter complaints against the Quakers, who had (they said) showered 
presents upon the Indians, while refusing to help the distressed 
settlers. They even accused the Friendly Association, and in particular 
Israel Pemberton, of keeping up a private and treacherous corre- 
spondence with tribes in time of war. These charges were the signal 
for the opening of an angry pamphlet controversy between the 
" Presbyterian " and the " Quaker " parties on the general question 
of the responsibility of the Quaker Assembly for the outbreak of 
the Indian wars. The writers on both sides were violent and, as 
far as is known, Friends themselves took no part in the quarrel, 
except for one statement to the Governor drawn up by the Meeting 
for Sufferings in answer to the charges of the Paxton rioters. This 
document, which was presented to Richard Penn in the spring 
of 1764, reminded him that their past history both in England 
and America showed the clearness of Friends from all plots and 
conspiracies, and defended the action of the Friendly Association 
in its efforts to promote peace with the Indians. Friends had willingly 
subscribed considerable sums to the relief of sufferers on the 
frontiers, but the 5,000 raised for the work of Indian reconciliation 
had also been for their benefit. " The chief part thereof hath been 
since expended in presents given at the public treaties (when they 
were sometimes delivered by the Governors of the province and 
at other times with their privity and permission) for promoting the 
salutary measures of gaining and confirming peace with the Indians 
and procuring the release of our countrymen in captivity." The 
Proprietors had approved of this policy. As for the accusation of 
usurping political power the Meeting for Sufferings replied with 
truth that on the contrary it had dissuaded Friends from office. 
" We are not conscious that as Englishmen and dutiful subjects 


we have ever forfeited our right of electing or being elected ; but 
because we could serve no longer in these stations with satisfaction 
to ourselves, many of us have chosen to forbear the exercise of these 
rights." x 

As the dispute between England and the American colonies 
passed first into resistance to the financial claims of the home 
Government, and then into a movement for independence and 
open war, the position of Friends in all the colonies was peculiarly 
difficult. In the years from 1765 to 1773 many, as leading citizens 
of their provinces and towns, took an active part by writings, 
speeches, and deeds in the opposition to any encroachment on colonial 
rights, thus carrying on the policy of the earlier Quaker colonists. 2 

Stephen Hopkins and Moses Brown in Rhode Island, John 
Dickinson, the Pembertons, and others in Philadelphia, all were 
concerned in these preliminary measures of resistance. 3 Many 
Quakers were prosperous merchants, and so were specially affected 
by the Navigation Acts and the other attempts of England to 
restrict and control American trade. 

But as events moved irresistibly towards war, Friends had to 
reconsider their position. John Dickinson, whose Farmer 's Letters 
of 1768 formed the best early statement of the American claims, 
and who wrote many state papers for the Continental Congress, 
refused to sign the Declaration of Independence. He believed that 
it was premature, and that the questions then in dispute could have 

1 The petition of the rioters to the Governor was reprinted as a pamphlet, 
A Declaration and Remonstrance of the Distressed and Bleeding Frontier Inhabitants 
of the Province of Pennsylvania, etc. (in D. 39). The reply of the Meeting for 
Sufferings is given in full, in Sharpless, Quakers in the Revolution, p. 59. It may 
be noted that the petition, while charging Pemberton and his friends in the past 
with making private treaties with the Indians and encouraging them in their 
belief that they had lost their lands by fraud, says nothing of the allegation that 
they had promised weapons to the Six Nations. There is no doubt that such a 
charge would have been eagerly utilized by the petitioners if it had had the slightest 
chance of obtaining credit. One argument advanced in defence of the massacre 
is that in time of Indian war all Indians, even if professedly friendly, must be viewed 
as potential enemies, and interned or put to death. 

2 Fifty Friends were among the signatories to one of the non-importation 
agreements in 1765 (Thomas, History of Friends in America, p. 117). 

3 These men were all of Quaker origin or connection, but not all in member- 
ship. Stephen Hopkins was disowned for slave-holding in 1773, though he continued 
to worship with Friends throughout his life. He was one of the signers of the 
Declaration of Independence. In 1 774 Moses Brown joined the Society, previously 
freeing his slaves. John Dickinson seems never to have been in actual member- 
ship ; but for this question, see Quakers in American Colonies, pp. 559 foil., and 
Sharpless, Political Leaders of Provincial Pennsylvania, pp. 236 foil. 


been solved by some method short of actual war. He fought, however, 
in the Revolution. Friends, as a body, had to make their choice. 
On the one side were the claims of liberty and justice. On the other 
was the testimony against war, and the old tradition of loyalty to 
the established Government. These were reinforced by the feeling 
which had grown during the past half-century that spiritual life 
was hindered by an active share in political movements. 

Of those who actively supported the war the majority naturally 
were on the Revolutionary side. They were disowned by their 
Monthly Meetings, when in membership for it must be 
remembered that many " Quakers " were only called so by the 
public from their social connection with Friends or their attendance 
at religious meetings. Those who joined the British cause were 
dealt with in the same way, but their numbers were very small. 
The majority of Friends maintained a quiet opposition not only 
to all military activity, but to all active support of the Revolutionary 
government. This attitude gave rise to the general opinion that 
Friends were traitors and " Tories " (that is, Loyalists). Traitors 
they were not, for they gave no aid to the British. Loyalists the 
leading Friends in Philadelphia and New York undoubtedly were, 
though they were scrupulous in their abstention from all complicity 
with the war. Probably the majority of the New England Friends, 
and of the country Friends elsewhere, sympathized with the American 
cause. But they all united in a conscientious opposition to warlike 
measures, and a refusal to share in them. 

Dr. Fothergill, who from across the Atlantic had watched the 
development of the American crisis with an understanding which 
was wanting among his Majesty's ministers, urged Pennsylvania 
Friends to accept the decision for national independence, and to 
support the liberties of America, by submitting to the general voice 
of the colonists, while firmly and calmly maintaining their opposition 
to war. 1 Possibly their position would have been easier had they 
taken this course, though in the heat of war, Governments are not 
very ready to enter into nice distinctions ; but, in giving this advice, 
Fothergill was more American than many of the Americans 
themselves. Actually Friends tried to maintain a policy of neutrality, 
and as a general rule they suffered equally at the hands of both 
contending parties. Their houses and farms were plundered, their 
meeting-houses were commandeered for troops or for the wounded. 

1 Vide Letters quoted in Sharpless, Quakers in the Revolution, p. 118. 


Personally they endured heavy distraints, in some cases imprisonment, 
and in a few actual maltreatment, while hardest of all to bear was 
the general odium which fell upon the sect and the wrench of 
separation from fellow members they held in high esteem. 1 Yet 
they kept steadily on the course they had chosen, maintained their 
meetings and their discipline, and helped their members both by 
advice and by material assistance. Whenever possible, during this 
time of war, representatives from New England and the Southern 
States attended Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, and this no doubt 
helped Friends throughout the States in the maintenance of a 
consistent policy. They also kept up an affectionate intercourse by 
official Epistles and private correspondence with English Friends. 
The misunderstandings which for so many years after the peace 
continued to subsist between the two great English-speaking countries 
found no place within the Society. The English and Irish bodies 
sent generous gifts to the sufferers from the war, which were grate- 
fully remembered and returned in later times of need by American 

Intercourse between the different Meetings was greatly hampered. 
Overstrained military officers were apt to mistake harmless 
" ministering Friends " for British spies, and more than once the lives 
of such travellers were in imminent danger, yet by quiet faith and 
courage they were often allowed to pass where way seemed impossible. 
Even some missionary visits to Indian tribes were carried out. The 
English Government had adopted the bad expedient of employing 
Indian auxiliaries against the Americans, but on the most disturbed 
frontiers Friends were unmolested, a fact which their enemies 
took as clear proof of their treacherous collusion with the British 
forces. An incident recorded by George Dillwyn illustrates this 
Quaker immunity. The neighbourhood of Easton on the New York 
frontier was so harassed by raids from both armies that the American 
Government had advised the inhabitants to evacuate the districts. 
The Friends, however, remained and kept up their religious 
meetings. At one week-day meeting they were sitting with open 
doors in silent worship when an Indian came and peeped in at them. 
Seeing Friends sitting quietly together, he slipped inside the door, 

1 Not all, however, who were disowned fell under this description. Some 
whose conduct had long been a matter of concern took this opportunity of leaving 
the Society on a more respectable pretext, while others were merely " birthright 
members " who cared little for the connection with Friends. 


followed by a company of his countrymen. They placed their weapons 
in a corner of the room, and took seats. When the meeting closed, 
Zebulon Hoxie, one of the Friends present, invited them to his 
house to refresh themselves, which invitation they accepted, and 
having partaken of his provisions quietly departed. Before going, 
however, the chief warrior, who could speak French, had a 
communication in that language with Robert Nesbitt, in which 
he told him they had come to the house intending to destroy all 
who were in it. Adding : " When we saw you sitting with your 
door open without weapons of defence, we had no disposition to 
hurt you, we would have fought for you." Yet this party had scalps 
with them. 1 

The difficulties of consistent conduct, and the divisions of opinion 
which harassed all Friends in North America, were intensified in 
the case of those in Pennsylvania, where they were still an important 
body, and where memories of their political control survived. But 
before describing their experiences a brief account may be given 
of the position of Friends during the war in the other provinces. 

New Jersey Friends in 1777 were forbidden by the American 
military authorities to attend their Yearly Meeting at Philadelphia, 
owing to the British occupation of the city. More than once during 
the war their meeting-houses were taken for barracks and hospitals, 
and they suffered particularly heavy losses by distraints and requisi- 
tions. Friends in Pennsylvania relieved them to the best of their 
ability, and at the close of the war English Friends sent generous 
help. A careful student of New Jersey Quakerism has written of 
this period : 

" Many young men yielded to the impulse, which also drew 
away some of the older ones, to enlist in the cause of the Americans. 
. . . Despite trials consequent upon a position of neutrality among 
people alive with the spirit of warfare, they steadily maintained 
their principles and profession, although at the expense, in many 
cases, of goods and property. To all inquiries they replied, as one 
meeting stated in a special minute : 

" ' We, the people called Quakers, ever since we were dis- 
tinguished as a Society, have declared to the world our belief in the 
peaceable tendency of the Gospel of Christ, and that, consistent 

1 The story is given in the British Friend, 1851, p. 290, vide also L.V. 
Hodgkin's version " Fierce Feathers " in A Book of Quaker Saints. The date is 
given as 1777 in The Journal of Rufus Hall (an eye-witness) in D. 


therewith, we could not bear arms, nor be concerned in warlike 
preparations.' " l 

When in 1775 the Committee of Safety of New York asked 
for a return of all male Quakers between the ages of sixteen and 
sixty, the Meeting for Sufferings refused to comply, on the grounds 
of a " truly conscientious scruple." Later in the year, when the city 
had been evacuated by many of the inhabitants through fear of 
bombardment by English ships, William Rickman, master of the 
Friends' School, and a few other Friends remained, doing service 
in the meeting-house, which was used as a hospital. After its 
capture, Tryon, the British Governor of New York, applied to the 
Meeting for Sufferings for funds to provide stockings and other 
comforts for the troops, on the ground that some Quakers had 
been " too busy and active in the present commotions." The 
Meeting acknowledged with regret the " deviation " of some 
members, but firmly declined to make the proposed gift, as 
" manifestly contrary to our religious testimony against war and 
fightings." 2 

New England Friends maintained their peace principles very 
firmly during the war. At its outbreak the New England Meeting 
for Sufferings was formed, and it soon found work to do in the relief 
of distress in the town and neighbourhood of Boston during its 
siege by the English in the winter of 1775-6. Help came from 
England, while the Philadephia Meeting for Sufferings sent 2,540, 
mostly in gold, to the New England committee of relief. This 
committee, under the leadership of Moses Brown, of Rhode Island, 
visited Howe and Washington, the generals of the opposing armies, 
explaining that they wished to relieve civilian distress, without 
distinction of parties. They were not allowed to pass through the 
lines of the besiegers, but they were permitted to send part of their 
funds to be distributed by Boston Friends, and the remainder they 
themselves apportioned to three thousand families in the adjacent 
towns and villages. " It was a sort of school to us," wrote Moses 
Brown, " for we never saw poverty to compare." In 1775 and again 
in 1776 the town of Salem, where the early Quakers had endured 
cruel persecution, publicly recorded its thanks to Friends for their 
generous help. " Through these towns many of them towns 
through which Quakers had been whipped working in company 

1 Quakers in American Colonies, pp. 411-12 (chapter by A. M. Gummere). 

2 Ibid., pp. 259-60. 


with the Selectmen the Friends, with personal painstaking care, 
dispensed their gifts of love." l 

What proved to be the most noteworthy of New England 
disownments on account of warlike activities, was that of Nathanael 
Greene, of Rhode Island, later Washington's most trusted general. 
Though the Quaker farmer, his father, had brought him up with 
Puritan strictness, young Greene early showed an un-Quakerly 
fondness for dancing and for military science and practice. In both 
he was handicapped by lameness, but he pursued both with zest. 
His separation from Friends took place before the war. In July 1773 
he and his brother came under the notice of their Monthly Meeting 
for visiting " a place in Connecticut of public resort, where they 
had no proper business." In other words, they had attended a militia 
training camp. In September they were both disowned, and two 
years later the Rhode Island Assembly elected Nathanael Greene 
as their brigadier-general. There is a tradition that he was the 
third choice, two other men of more experience having refused, 
and that when the result of the voting was announced, he rose 
and said : " Since the Episcopalian and the Congregationalist 
won't, I suppose the Quaker must." Another tradition gives him 
a Spartan mother, who dismissed him with the assurance that, though 
her grief at his choice of a soldier's life was very great, it would 
be deeper if she were ever to hear that he had turned his back to 
the enemy. 2 What is certain is that, although at times he spoke 
bitterly of the narrowness of his early education, he always showed 
confidence in Friends. After the bloody battle of Guildford Court 
House, North Carolina, before his retreat he placed the wounded 
of both armies in the Friends' meeting-house, and wrote to 
neighbouring Friends reminding them that he had been brought 
up in their Society, and appealing to them to help the sufferers, 
which they did by furnishing hospital supplies. 

In 1781 Abel Thomas and another Friend, through many 
difficulties and dangers, paid a visit of religious consolation to their 
brethren in Virginia and South Carolina. After narrowly missing 
death as spies from one section of the American Army and losing 

1 Quakers in American Colonies, p. 152 ; Annals of Salem, ii. 399. Moses 
Brown's contemporary account was first published in the Pennsylvania Magazine 
of Politics and History, i. 168. 

* G. VV. Greene, Life of Nathanael Greene, i. 69, 80, etc. There is a 
delightful account of Greene as a man and a soldier in Sir George Trevelyan's 
George III and Charles Fox, vol. ii. ch. 16. 


their horses at the hands of robbers, they still did not feel " free " 
(in Quaker language) to leave the district, and applied to General 
Greene for a pass. His answer dated June 7, 1781, was as follows : 

" From the good opinion I have of the people of your profession, 
being bred and educated among them, I am persuaded your visit 
is purely religious, and in this persuasion have granted you a pass, 
and I shall be happy if your ministry shall contribute to the establish- 
ment of morality and brotherly kindness among the people, than 
which no country ever wanted it more. I am sensible your principles 
and professions are opposed to war, but I know you are fond of 
both political and religious liberty. ... In this laudable endeavour 
I expect at least to have the good wishes of your people, as well 
for their own sakes as for ours, who wish to serve them upon all 
occasions, not inconsistent with the public good." Armed with the 
permit the Friends finished their mission, though in its course they 
had to pass close to a battle. 

Other Rhode Island Friends were more peaceable than Greene. 
From the "Journal of Job Scott, one of their members, it appears that 
early in the war the Deputy-Governor ordered the inhabitants to pro- 
duce all their fowling-pieces and small arms at the Court House, that 
the military resources of the district might be known. The Friends 
sent a written refusal to attend, stating their opposition to all war. 
The Deputy-Governor was satisfied, remarking that he wished 
all consciences to be free. The records of the New England Yearly 
Meeting at Providence, however, contain many " sufferings " of 
Friends during the war, from distraints of cattle and property and 
other losses. Job Scott himself was much exercised over the use of 
the Continental paper currency. At last he refused it and enjoyed 
" peace of mind," although he found life difficult since practically 
no other money was in circulation. When the British forces occupied 
Rhode Island, many people fled with their valuables from Providence. 
The Friends of the town, meeting together, decided to remain, 
and to do nothing to increase the panic. They were " preserved 
in the stability of the unchangeable Truth." * 

The inhabitants of Nantucket suffered almost as severely as 
those of any district not actually ravaged by the war. An embargo 
was laid on their cod-fishing by the English Government, their 
whalers were captured by the enemy, and at times they were in 
danger of starvation, since the Americans refused to send them 

1 Journal of Job Scott. 


provisions, on the pretext that they supplied the British. William 
Rotch, a Quaker, was a large ship-owner and the chief proprietor 
of the island's whaling fleet. 1 He had taken a large stock of muskets 
and bayonets in payment of a debt. The muskets he sold as fowling- 
pieces to his whalers to shoot game and sea fowl in their coasting 
voyages. The bayonets he refused to sell. At the outbreak of the 
war both British and Americans wished to get hold of his stock. 
The American authorities sent over to requisition them, but Rotch 
refused : 

" The time had now come to support our testimony against 
war or forever abandon it. . . . My reasons for not furnishing 
the bayonets were demanded, and I answered : ' As this instrument 
is purposely made and used for the destruction of mankind and I 
cannot put into one man's hand to destroy another that which I 
cannot use myself in the same way, I refuse to comply with thy 
demand.' " This made, he said, a great noise in the neighbourhood, 
and his life was threatened. As for the bayonets " I would gladly 
have beaten them into pruning hooks. As it was, I took an early 
opportunity of throwing them into the sea." For his refusal, he 
was summoned before a court-martial, where he explained his position. 
" The chairman of the committee, one Major Hawley, a worthy 
character, then addressed the committee, and said : ' I believe Mr. 
Rotch has given us a candid account of the affair, and every man 
has a right to act consistently with his religious principles. But 
I am sorry we cannot have the bayonets for we want them very 
much.' The Major was desirous of knowing more of our Friends' 
principles, on which I informed him as far as he inquired. One 
of the committee (Judge Parr), in a pert manner, observed : ' Then 
your principles are passive obedience and non-resistance.' I replied : 
' No, my friend, our principles are active obedience and passive 
suffering.' I passed through no small trial on account of my 
bayonets." Later on William Rotch was to prove as faithful to his 
principles in the French Revolution as he had been in the 

The Revolution brought much trouble to Friends in the South. 2 

1 Vide Memorandum Written by William Rotch in the Eightieth Tear of His Age 
(printed by Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston and New York, 19 16). The three 
ships which brought the famous cargo of tea to Boston in 1773 were all owned by 

* The following facts are mainly taken from S. B. Weeks, Southern Quakers 
and Slavery. 


In Virginia, Washington's own State, the official attitude of the 
Society was uncompromisingly opposed to any breach with the 
established Government. Those who took part in the war on either 
side, by enlistment or otherwise, were disowned yet, during this 
period, many joined the Society. Historians suggest that these were 
shirkers trying to avoid military service. But the treatment accorded 
to Friends and the active campaign against slave-holding which they 
carried on during the war were not inducements for the unconvinced 
and unscrupulous to enter their ranks. It is true that in Virginia the 
earlier " draft " laws of the war exempted Quakers and Mennonites 
(this sect had been migrating southward from Pennsylvania during 
the last quarter of a century), but they endured heavy distraints, 
and their general refusal to use the Continental paper money or to 
pay war taxes involved them in great difficulty. Later an attempt 
was made to force them to serve. In 1777 fourteen Friends were 
drafted under the Militia law and taken from home. They steadily 
refused either to handle a musket or to eat the army provisions, 
but they were dragged on with the regiment until some fell ill under 
their hardships and were sent home. The others were brought to 
Washington's camp at Valley Forge, with their muskets tied on 
their backs. Washington had ex-Quakers among his officers, and 
he had had some experience of Quaker scruples in the campaign 
of 1756. As soon as he heard of the arrival of the conscripts, he 
ordered them to be discharged and allowed them to go home. 1 
Another Friend was mercilessly flogged for refusing to act as guard 
over Burgoyne's army, after its surrender in Virginia. 

In 1777 an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the State was 
imposed, the penalty of refusal being the confiscation of all weapons 
and the loss of the franchise and other civil rights. The minutes 
of the next Virginia Yearly Meeting showed that this stringent 
penalty had drawn some to conform. Local meetings were directed 
to caution their members " not to join with or engage in any 
measures which may be carried on by war and bloodshed, or take 
any test that may bind them to join with either party while the 
contest subsists." 

The Yearly Meeting of North Carolina (including South 
Carolina and Georgia) in its Epistle of 1776 denounced all insurrec- 
tions as " works of darkness." War taxes were left a matter for 
the individual conscience, and many paid. But all paid involuntarily 

1 Gilpin, Exiles in Virginia, p. 181. 


to the support of both armies. Neither side, when in occupation 
of this territory, spared the well-filled barns and store-houses of 
Quaker farmers and merchants. The Georgia draft law exempted 
acknowledged Quakers, but in both Carolinas they were liable 
to very heavy fines in one year the record amounts to 4,000 
and in another to 2,152, both presumably not reckoned in Conti- 
nental currency, but in " hard money." The penalty for refusing 
the test of allegiance was even more severe in these States than in 
Virginia. In both it was expulsion, but in South Carolina the exile 
who returned was liable to death. This provision was, however, 
too strong for public opinion, and after a few months it was assimilated 
to the Virginia law. In 1777 the Quakers of North Carolina addressed 
a reasoned statement to the Assembly, explaining why they could 
not declare their allegiance to the Revolutionary government. 

" As we have always declared that we believed it to be unlawful 
for us to be active in war and fighting with carnal weapons, and 
as we conceive that the proposed affirmation approves of the present 
measures, which are carried on and supported by military force, 
we cannot engage in or join with either party therein, being bound 
by our principles to believe that the setting up and pulling down 
Kings and Governments is God's peculiar prerogative, for causes 
best known to himself ; and that it is not our work or business 
to have any hand or contrivance therein, nor to be busybodies in 
matters above our station ; so that, as we cannot be active either 
for or against any power that is permitted or set over us in the above 
respects, we hope that you will consider our principles a much stronger 
security to any state than any test that can be required of us. As 
we now are, and shall be, innocent and peaceable in our several 
stations and conditions under this present state, and for conscience' 
sake are submissive to the laws, in whatever they may justly require, 
or by peaceably suffering what is or may be inflicted upon us, in 
matters in which we cannot be active for conscience' sake." r 

This argument had its effect, for in 1780 the Assembly went 
so far as to pass an Act securing Quakers in the possession of their 
landed property, since malicious persons had attempted to oust them, 
on the plea that by refusing allegiance they had lost the protection 
of the law. After this there seems to have been no further trouble. 
When peace came in 1783 the Yearly Meeting told its members 
that, though it had dissuaded them from taking any test " to either 
1 Weeks, Southern Quakers and Slavery, p. 191. 


of the powers while contending," they were now left " to the freedom 
of their own minds." In other words, the Government was now 
again established, and while Friends would not take part in war 
they accepted its verdict. Under the new authorities Quakers 
were either specifically or tacitly exempted from all military service 
in the Carolinas and Georgia, and in Virginia the penalties were 
comparatively light until the outbreak of the second war with 

The difficulties which harassed Friends during the war were 
intensified in the case of the Quakers of Pennsylvania. The numbers 
of the Society were still large they were estimated at 30,000 at 
this period and it was natural that those who mistrusted their 
intentions should fear the influence of so important and compact 
a body. At first, as has been said, the Quaker merchants of Phila- 
delphia united with the other leaders of the province in resistance 
of the claims of the home Government. Fifty, including the Pember- 
tons and Whartons, were among the four hundred merchants who 
signed the non-importation agreement evoked by the Stamp Act 
of 1765. A letter was sent to the London Meeting for Sufferings 
explaining their reasons for this course. In 1766 they wrote again 
to inform English Friends that in Pennsylvania and New Jersey 
the rejoicings on the repeal of the Act were accompanied by less 
riotous proceedings than in the other States, " to which the conduct 
and conversation of Friends hath in some measure tended." The 
"tea-party," also, which Philadelphia held in 1773, was of a milder 
and more decorous character than the renowned one at Boston. 
The tea had been consigned to the Quaker firms of Wharton and 
Drinker, but the pressure of public opinion prevented its unloading, 
and the ship had to put about and return to England. The Whartons 
advanced to the captain sufficient money to cover the expenses 
of his unexpected and unprofitable voyage. 

As the situation grew more acute, the cleavage of opinion widened. 
Philadelphia had always possessed many Friends of the Logan 
type, wealthy, well-educated, public-spirited, not principled against 
defensive war, and taking little active part in the religious life of the 
Society. Among these Friends were those who had refused to leave 
the Assembly in 1756, who had supported its war policy, and had 
encouraged the resort to arms against the " Paxton boys." Now 
they prepared to cast in their lot with the Americans. Three men 
of Quaker connection were among the chief organizers of the 


Continental Congress of 1774, held in Philadelphia. They were 
Charles Thomson, not himself a Friend, but formerly master of the 
Friends' School and clerk to Tedyuscung at the Indian Conferences, 
John Dickinson, whose membership in the Society is dubious, and 
Thomas Mifflin, an undoubted Friend. Of the three Charles 
Thomson became Secretary to the Congress, Dickinson was one 
of its leading spirits until the actual decision for war, and Mifflin 
won fame as a Revolutionary general and later as Governor of the 
State. They were all moderates in policy, and through their influence 
it was hoped to win over the " Quaker party," and even the Society 
itself. But as the movement for independence grew, the " Presby- 
terians " gained power and support in the Pennsylvania legislature. 
Under their influence in 1776 the constitution of Pennsylvania 
and Penn's ancient charter were annulled and replaced by a 
Republican Government. This extreme course frightened back many 
of the moderates into Toryism (or support of England) and alienated 
the whole body of Friends, who wrote regretfully of " the happy 
constitution under which we and others long enjoyed tranquillity 
and peace." x 

For some time Friends were in a balance of opinion, but as the 
movement in America became more violent, they fell back upon 
their old testimony against revolution. As early as June 1774 the 
Meeting for Sufferings was advising Friends to abstain from the 
excitements of public meetings, and in September the Yearly Meeting 
followed this up by an address to all Friends in America, reminding 
them that the experience of their forefathers in the Civil War had 
led them to the conviction of the unlawfulness of all wars and 
fightings. The Meeting reiterated the advice of Fox in 1685 : 

" Whatever bustlings or troubles or tumults or outrages should 
rise in the world, keep out of them ; but keep in the Lord's power, 
and in the peaceable truth that is over all, in which power you seek 
the peace and good of all men, and live in the love which God has 
shed abroad in your hearts, through Jesus Christ, in which love 

1 Meeting for Sufferings, 12th mo. 20, 1776. It was Dickinson who wrote 
the " Liberty Song," a line of which gave the new Republic its motto " By 
uniting we stand, by dividing we fail." But he had tried to carry on negotiations 
in the spirit of another of his aphorisms ' The cause of liberty is a cause of too 
much dignity to be sullied by turbulence and tumult " and as the tide of passion 
rose the control of affairs was swept out of his hands. It has been said that " his 
life was typical of Quaker influence (in Pennsylvania), potent to the very outbreak 
of war, suddenly and strikingly impotent after it becomes a fact " {Quakers in 
American Colonies, p. 560). 


nothing is able to separate you from God and Christ." 1 Three 
months later the Meeting for Sufferings recorded a minute (De- 
cember 15, 1774) regretting that the Pennsylvania Assembly had 
approved the proceedings of the Continental Congress. " Which 
contain divers resolutions very contrary to our Christian profession 
and principles. And as there are several members of our religious 
society who are members of that assembly, some of whom we have 
reason to apprehend, have either agreed to the late resolves, which 
are declared to be unanimous, or not manifested their dissent in such 
a manner as a regard to our Christian testimony would require of 
them, there being a danger of such being drawn into further incon- 
sistencies of conduct in their public stations, the following Friends 
are desired to take an opportunity of informing them of the trouble 
and sorrow they brought on their brethren, who are concerned 
to maintain our principles on the ancient foundations, and to excite 
them to greater watchfulness, etc., to avoid agreeing to proposals, 
resolutions, or measures so inconsistent with the testimony of 

In January 1775 the Meeting urged members (who "some of 
them without their consent or knowledge ") had been nominated 
to public offices to withdraw, and Monthly Meetings were asked 
to deal with all inconsistencies of conduct. Throughout this and 
the following winter meetings were kept busy at the work. 
President Sharpless, who made a careful study of this period, estimated 
that of the thirty thousand Friends in Pennsylvania four or five 
hundred asserted themselves openly in the American cause, and 
five or six individuals are known to have joined the British forces. 
All these were disowned. Thomas Mifflin was the first to go, 
followed by a host of less prominent men. They gave cause for their 
disownment, for John Adams wrote from Philadelphia in 1775 
that it was a ludicrous sight " to see whole companies of armed 
Quakers in uniform going through the manual."3 This is confirmed 
by James Pemberton's account to Fothergill in May of that year. 
" A military spirit prevails, the people are taken off from employment, 
intent on instructing themselves in the art of war, and many younger 
members of our Society are daily joining with them." At least an 

1 Bowden, History of Friends in America, ii. 298. There are various copies of 
the letter in D., e.g. Tracts, C. 147. 

1 Sharpless, Quakers in the Revolution, p. 107. 

s Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of America, vi. 131. 


hundred and forty were dealt with and disowned by two Monthly 
Meetings in the city of Philadelphia for such causes as the following : 
" Acting as soldier in the American Army." " Joining the British 
Army " (one case). " Fitting out an armed vessel which may 
prove the cause of shedding human blood." " Paying fines in 
lieu of military service." " Making weapons of war for the 
destruction of his fellow-men." " Being in an engagement where 
many were slain." " Holding a commission for furnishing supplies 
to one of the belligerents." I 

At the same time there were a considerable number of disown- 
ments for slave-holding. The influence of the most spiritually 
minded and most honoured members of the Society was unflinchingly 
set against slavery and war. Among these leaders was Anthony 
Benezet, already mentioned in connection with the events of 1755 
and 1756. Born in 17 13, of a French Huguenot family, he was 
only two years old when his parents fled with him to England to 
escape persecution. In 1727 he joined Friends, and four years later 
he emigrated to Pennsylvania. There he devoted the rest of his 
long life to the interests of the Society and of his fellow-men, working 
by personal influence and his pen on behalf of the slaves and the 
oppressed. His Historical Account of Guinea^ read by Clarkson in 
1785 when working for a University prize, gave him the impulse 
to his campaign against the slave-trade. Benezet had some of 
Woolman's transparent simplicity and benevolence, though he was 
a man of more education. For some years he was master of a Friends' 
school in the city. 

In 1755, after the hapless Acadians were banished from their 
homes by the British Government, he was single-handed a relief 
committee for the five hundred quartered in Philadelphia. 2 He 
built them houses, collected clothing and money, and found them 
employment. In fact, his sympathy for these men of his old race 
impelled him to such efforts for their welfare that one refugee feared 
that this benevolence could not be disinterested, but that their helper 
intended to sell them as slaves. 

He was a leading member of the Friendly Association, and 
until his death in 1784 worked untiringly for the Indians. But 
above all he worked for peace. His hatred of war was intense. 
According to his first biographer, Vaux, he once addressed an 

1 Sharpless, Quakers in the Revolution, pp. 132-4. 

* The story of the Acadians is familiar from Longfellow's Evangeline. 



" energetic and pathetic " letter to Frederick the Great, remonstrating 
with him for his share in the miseries inflicted by conquest, but this 
address does not seem to have survived. He used all his endeavours 
towards a peaceful solution of the dispute with England, and even 
after hostilities had broken out, published pamphlets expounding his 
peaceable gospel to his warring countrymen. In one he wrote : 
" Let us all sincerely ask our common Father for help to pray 
not for the destruction of our enemies, who are still our brethren, 
but for an agreement with them." 

In 1774 he visited many of the deputies to the Continental 
Congress, pleading with them for the abolition of slavery and the 
maintenance of peace. Among them was Patrick Henry, but he 
(as Benezet recorded the interview) at last remarked that " it was 
strange to him to find some of the Quakers manifesting a disposition 
so different from that I had described. I reminded him that many 
of these had no other claim to our principles than as they were children 
or grandchildren of those who professed those principles. I suppose 
his remark principally arose from the violent spirit which some 
under our name are apt to show, more particularly in the Congress." 1 
This was a fair enough description of many of those disowned on 
account of the war. The minute of disownment generally stated 
that by the acts enumerated the member had " separated himself 
from religious fellowship with us," and expressed a hope for his 
future restoration. This was fulfilled in several cases. Owen Biddle, 
a leading Friend, repented and applied for reinstatement, giving 
out a " testimony of denial," or acknowledgment of his fault. The 
same course was followed by two young men, Peter and Mordecai 
Yarnall, who later became well-known ministers in the Society. 
Peter Yarnall had acted as assistant surgeon in the Revolutionary 
Army, and had also gained money by a share in a privateer. In 
1780 he was reconverted to Quakerism by the preaching of 
Samuel Emlen at a funeral he attended. He showed his sincerity 
by relinquishing his privateering profits and trying to restore them 
to the rightful owners ; he also gave a public testimony of repentance 
to his former Monthly Meeting, which reinstated him. 2 There 
were other instances, but, of course, the majority of the disowned 
Friends were permanently lost to the Society. 

Meanwhile, as the leaders of the Revolution had established 

1 Vaux, Memoirs of Anthony Benezet, p. 64. 
1 British Friend, 1850, pp. 63, 91. 


an independent Government in the several States, Friends had to 
decide on their course. The one adopted was neither popular nor 
easy, but it seems to have been accepted without hesitation by the 
majority of the members, on whichever side their sympathies 
might lie. 

Friends were to take no part in warlike measures, and to give 
no assistance to either side, but they were also as far as possible to 
maintain a quiet testimony against revolution, by a refusal to 
acknowledge the powers of the de facto Government. In January 
1775 the Meeting for Sufferings had thrown down the gauntlet 
by publishing a " Testimony," which stated that the principles 
of Friends were " to discountenance and avoid every measure 
tending to excite disaffection to the King as supreme magistrate, 
or to the legal authority of his government." " We are therefore," 
the document continued, " incited by a sincere concern for the 
peace and welfare of our country publicly to declare against every 
usurpation of power and authority in opposition to the laws and 
Government, and against all combinations, insurrections, conspiracies, 
and illegal assemblies ; and as we are restrained from them by the 
conscientious discharge of our duty to Almighty God, ' by whom 
Kings reign and Princes decree justice,' we hope through his 
assistance and favour to be enabled to maintain our testimony against 
any requisition which may be made of us, inconsistent with our 
religious principles, and the fidelity we owe to the King and his 

Dr. Fothergill, in England, was an acute critic of the royal 
policy, and had even told the Speaker of the House of Commons, 
in conversation, that England had been unjust to America and "ought 
to bear the consequences and alter her conduct," or the " empire 
would be divided and ruined." To him this address seemed too 
unquestioning in its loyality. Yet the language was not warmer 
than that used by the Continental Congress six months later. Even 
after Lexington and Bunker's Hill, that body on July 6th declared : 
" We mean not to dissolve that union (with England) . . . which 
we sincerely wish to see restored," and on the 8th it adopted an 
address to the King couched in the most loyal terms. 1 

1 This account of Pennsylvania Quakerism during the Revolution is mainly 
based on Bowden, Friends in America, vol. ii. ; Gilpin, Exiles in Virginia ; 
Sharpless, Quakers in the Revolution, and his chapter on the same subject in Quakers 
in the American Colonies. Dickinson was largely responsible for the drafting of 
the early congressional documents. 


But, when in 1776, Congress had resolved on the dissolution 
of the Union, the Friends still maintained their old position. The 
Meeting for Sufferings on January 20, 1776, issued a fresh 
" Testimony," which next year served as one of the chief counts 
in the indictment against leading Philadelphia Quakers. It was 
headed : " The Ancient Testimony of the people called Quakers, 
renewed with respect to the King and Government ; and touching 
the commotions now prevailing in these and other parts of America, 
addressed to the people in general." It opened with a strong plea 
for peace, and for the maintenance of the " happy connexion we 
have heretofore enjoyed with the kingdom of Great Britain, and our 
just and necessary subordination to the King and those who are 
lawfully placed in authority under him," and encouraged Friends 
firmly to maintain their principles. 

The document was signed by James Pemberton, as was the later 
pronouncement of December 1776, already quoted. The Yearly 
Meeting of 1776 counselled a policy which amounted to neutrality. 
Friends were to keep out of public office and the " present commo- 
tions," to be prompt in relief of sufferers " not only of our own, 
but of every other society and denomination," to be quietly loyal 
to the King, and to be patient under suffering. This " meek but 
invincible ill-will " (as Sir George Trevelyan has described the 
official Quaker attitude to the Revolution) x brought the whole 
sect into disfavour. Thomas Paine (later author of the Rights of 
Man), one of the chief pamphleteers on the American side, in a 
fierce rejoinder, printed as an appendix to his famous Common Sense, 
advised Friends to proclaim such doctrines to the enemy, rather 
than to those who were fighting for freedom. 2 As has been said, 
it is impossible to calculate the exact balance of opinion within the 
Society. President Sharpless says : " In one sense they were Loyalists, 
and it is quite probable that the personal sympathies of many of them 
were with the British cause. But they were innocuous Loyalists ; 
they were neither spies on American movements, nor did they flee 
for protection to British headquarters."3 On the other hand, many, 
besides those who openly came out on the American side and in 
consequence lost their membership, must have been in secret sympathy 
with the Revolution. On the vexed question of the Continental 

1 American Revolution, iii. 59. 

1 Paine's father was an English Quaker. 

3 Sharpless, Quakers in Revolution, p. 131. 


money the Yearly Meeting refused to give any decision, though 
some Friends felt that the testimony against Revolution (perhaps 
mingled with a natural reluctance on the part of solid business men 
to handle any currency so wildly inflated) forced them to refuse it. 1 

In June 1777 the Pennsylvania legislature passed a law ordering 
all the inhabitants to take an oath or affirmation of allegiance to 
the State of Pennsylvania and the United States, and to abjure for ever 
all connection with the King and Government of Great Britain. 
The majority of the Quakers stood firm, but the refusal to side 
with the new Government told heavily against them during the 
anxieties of the following autumn. 

In September, Philadelphia was occupied by the British army 
under General Howe. A minute of the Monthly Meeting records 
the conduct of Friends in this crisis : " On the 29th of the 9th 
month 1777, being the day in course for holding our Monthly 
Meeting, a number of Friends met, when the present situation 
of things being considered, and it appearing that the King's army 
are near entering the city, at which time it may be proper the 
inhabitants should generally be at their habitations in order to preserve 
as much as possible peace and good order on this solemn occasion, 
it is therefore proposed to adjourn this Monthly Meeting." 2 

As Howe approached Philadelphia, the Continental Congress, 
which was preparing to remove to Lancaster, recommended the 
disarmament and arrest of all persons suspected of British leanings. 
Moreover, " the several testimonies which have been published 
since the commencement of the present contest between Great 
Britain and America, and the uniform tenor of the conduct and 
conversation of a number of persons of considerable wealth, who 
profess themselves to belong to the Society of people commonly 
called Quakers, render it certain and notorious that these persons 
are, with much rancour and bitterness, disaffected to the American 
cause ; that, as these persons will have it in their power, so there 
is no doubt it will be their inclination to communicate intelligence 

1 " In the later years of the war the Government paper was at a discount of 
three hundred, seven hundred, and at last of a thousand to one" (Sir G. 
Trevelyan, George the Third and Charles Fox, i. 301). The passage gives a vivid 
account of the evils of depreciation. 

* " The Quakers alone gave no sign of perturbation and calmly pursued their 
ordinary avocations, amidst the general panic and flurry. It seemed (said an 
American writer) as if, in their aversion to all military operations, they regarded 
even running away, that very material part of battle, as opposed to the principles of 
their Society" (Trevelyan, American Revolution, iv. 368). 


to the enemy, and in various other ways, to injure the counsels and 
arms of America." In accordance with this resolution, about forty 
leading Quakers and Episcopalians were arrested, and their houses 
and private papers searched for evidence of treason. The records 
of the Meeting for Sufferings were also confiscated to be examined 
by Congress for matter of a political nature. Parole was offered 
to the suspects, on condition that they remained within their houses. 
All the Quakers, and some others, refused the offer. " They said 
they had committed no offence, and that it was an outrage to throw 
citizens into jail without a charge and present a test to them as if 
they had ever been guilty of misconduct." 1 

Among those arrested were Israel and James Pemberton, 
Samuel Fisher, Henry Drinker, Thomas Gilpin, and John Hunt. 
The last-named was one of the two English Friends sent out by 
the London Meeting for Sufferings to advise in the Assembly diffi- 
culties of 1756, who subsequently settled in Philadelphia. In the 
charges levelled against the Quakers, Congress relied mainly on 
the publications of the Yearly Meeting and the Meeting for 
Sufferings, particularly that of December 1776, which was inter- 
preted as preaching sedition. These papers were published by order 
of Congress over the signature of Charles Thomson, Secretary, 
and with them another document, always afterwards known among 
Friends as the " Spanktown forgery." This, it was said, had been 
found by General Sullivan among the British baggage captured on 
Staten Island ; it consisted of notes on the disposition of the American 
troops, headed, "Information from Jersey, 19th August, 1777," 
and signed, " Spanktown Yearly Meeting." The paper was claimed 
by the more violent revolutionaries as proof positive of a treasonable 
connection between the British forces and official Quakerism. Its 
origin was never discovered, but Friends had no difficulty in showing 
it to be a clumsy fabrication. It mentioned the landing of General 
Howe, which did not take place until August 22nd, three days 
after the supposed date of the information, and the signature, 
" Spanktown Yearly Meeting," was unlike that of any official 
document of Friends. Moreover, there was no such body as 
" Spanktown " Yearly Meeting, although a Quarterly Meeting 
was held at Rahway, part of which town was sometimes known as 

But it was much less easy for the suspects to regain their 
1 Sharpless, Quakers in the Re-volution, p. 154. 


liberty. The responsibility for the arrest seemed to be divided 
between Congress and the Supreme Council of Pennsylvania. 
To both bodies the prisoners as a whole, and the Quakers in particular, 
addressed remonstrances. Another was sent to the Council signed 
on behalf of the Yearly Meeting by more than a hundred Friends. 
In this they declared : " We are led out of all wars and fightings 
by the principles of grace and truth in our own minds by which 
we are restrained either as private members of society, or in any 
of our meetings, from holding a correspondence with either army, 
but are concerned to spread the testimony of truth and peaceable 
doctrines of Jesus Christ, . . . and we deny in general terms all 
charges and insinuations which in any degree clash with this our 
profession." The prisoners were equally emphatic. James Pember- 
ton, Clerk of the Meeting for Sufferings, one of those on whom 
suspicion fell most heavily, wrote later to Robert Morris : " I have 
never had at any time the least correspondence with General Howe 
or any British commander or others concerned in the military 
operations against America, nor do I intend to have." In an " Address 
to the people of Pennsylvania," the prisoners defended the Meeting 
for Sufferings document of December 1776 : "The testimony of 
the Quakers is against all wars and fightings, and against entering 
into military engagements of any kind ; surely, then, it was the 
right of the representatives of that Society to caution their members 
from engaging in anything contrary to their religious principles." 

The Council, however, ordered those arrested to take an oath 
or affirmation of allegiance to the State and, in the event of their 
refusal, to be deported to Winchester, Virginia. In spite of the 
protests of the prisoners, their families, and friends, no trial was 
held, no evidence offered, and no formal accusation brought against 
them. They were hurried away ; but with indomitable perseverance 
they applied to Chief Justice McKean for writs of Habeas Corpus. 
These were granted by him and served during the journey on the 
military escort, but the latter refused to obey. The exiles aptly quoted 
a sentence from an address by Congress to the British nation in 
1774 : "We hold it essential to English liberty that no man be 
condemned unheard, or punished for a supposed offence without 
having an opportunity of making his defence." 

In all, twenty suspected " Loyalists " were deported, of whom 
seventeen were Quakers. They kept a careful and methodical diary 
of their experiences, from which and from the artless pages of 


Elizabeth Drinker's Journal (she, the wife of one exiled Friend, 
was forced to stay in Philadelphia) a vivid impression can be gathered 
of their fluctuating hopes and fears. On the whole, after the first 
illegal haste, they were well treated, given a fairly wide parole, 
allowed to worship with local Friends and, at their own expense, 
to choose their lodgings. But they were hurried away without 
sufficient preparations to meet the winter. In March 1778 Thomas 
Gilpin, an elderly man, died of pneumonia, and soon afterwards 
John Hunt succumbed to blood-poisoning. The authorities relented, 
and in April the remaining Friends were allowed to return. Though 
the Council decided that " the whole expenses of arresting and 
confining the prisoners sent to Virginia, the expenses of their 
journey, and all other incidental charges, be paid by the said 
prisoners," yet a half-apology was made, inasmuch as the escort was 
ordered to treat them " with that polite attention and care which 
is due from men who act on the purest motives to gentlemen 
whose stations in life entitle them to respect, however much they 
may differ in political sentiment from those in whose power they 

Their friends in Pennsylvania had been working hard for their 
release. After the battle of Germantown in October 1777, a com- 
mittee appointed by Yearly Meeting visited both armies to explain 
to Washington and General Howe the basis of their testimony 
for peace. They were well received, and convinced Washington 
that the Spanktown document was a forgery and that they were 
innocent of any treasonable intent. Years later, when Washington 
was President, he met again one of the deputation, Warner Mifflin, 
cousin of his general, and inquired : " Mr. Mifflin, will you now 
please tell me on what principle you were opposed to the Revolution ? " 
" Yes, Friend Washington, upon the principle that I should be 
opposed to a change in the present Government. All that was ever 
secured by Revolution is not an adequate compensation for the poor 
mangled soldiers, and for the loss of life and limb." " I honour 
your sentiments," replied Washington, " for there is more in them 
than mankind has generally considered." In fact, Washington's 
treatment of Friends was invariably courteous and considerate, 
and on their part was repaid by esteem. When four of the prisoners' 
wives visited Valley Forge, to plead for their husbands, they had 
nothing but praise to give to their reception by the general and 
his wife, while he, in private letters to his subordinates, secured 


concessions for the anxious women. " Humanity," he wrote, 
" pleads strongly on their behalf." 

Meanwhile the lot of Friends in Pennsylvania had been far 
from comfortable. If the Loyalists of Philadelphia had welcomed 
the advent of the British troops, the views of the quiet Quakers, 
at any rate, were soon changed by their behaviour. The soldiers 
were drunken and riotous, and the officers introduced a rout of 
balls, theatres, and card-playing which transformed the city and, 
as the meetings sorrowfully admitted, led away some of their own 
younger members. In the country districts, still held by the 
Americans, Friends endured many fines and imprisonments for 
their refusal to take part in the war. 

When in the late spring the British Army withdrew and the 
American troops under Benedict Arnold entered the city, political 
power was seized by extremists, mostly of the old " Presbyterian " 
party. Moderate men, even those as deeply attached to the American 
cause as General Mifflin and Robert Morris, were insulted and 
molested, while their old enemies set to work to make life as uncom- 
fortable as possible to any Quaker. It was not surprising that in 
times of rejoicing for victory their unlighted windows were broken, 
or that in times of anxiety the mob threatened to hang all Quakers 
and Tories. But those in power went further than this. Two 
Friends who were undoubtedly guilty of overt acts against the 
Government were hung on the charge of high treason, as scapegoats 
for more dangerous men who had followed the British into 

One, Abraham Carlisle, a carpenter, had been employed by 
the British to give out passes through the military lines between 
the city and the countryside. It was admitted that he had discharged 
his business well and he claimed that he had undertaken it in the 
hope of in some degree alleviating the sufferings of war. The other, 
John Roberts, a country miller, had been deeply stirred by the treat- 
ment of the Virginia exiles. He was so carried away by indignation 
that he went to the British headquarters and entreated Howe to 
send out a rescue party to intercept the prisoners on their journey 
to Virginia. The proposal was not accepted, but, having thus burnt 
his boats, Roberts took shelter with the British and was accused 
of acting as guide to their foraging parties. Both cases aroused much 
sympathy ; petitions for reprieve were sent in signed by many 
citizens, even by the judges and jurors concerned in the trials. 


Friends had officially warned both men against their course 
of action, and they were considered to have lost their 
membership by disregarding the warning. The Meeting for 
Sufferings, therefore, did not intervene on their behalf, bat 
Friends paid frequent visits to them in prison before their 
execution. They were found to be in a resigned and religious 
frame of mind, admitting the errors of their conduct. There were 
other more innocent sufferers. Not only were houses and farms 
plundered and laid waste, but in addition to the distraints for war 
purposes the test of allegiance imposed in 1778 weighed heavily 
on Friends. " Shortly after the return of the exiles, they themselves 
largely participating, the Meeting for Sufferings issued another minute, 
not less objectionable from the patriotic standpoint than any which 
had preceded it, urging Friends to subscribe to no tests, and to give 
no aid to the war." 1 

The test was exacted of all teachers, with the consequence that 
Friends' schools were seriously crippled. In spite of a petition from 
the Meeting for Sufferings, that the Assembly should respect the 
old tradition under which Pennsylvania had been an "asylum for 
tender consciences," several Friends were imprisoned for nearly 
a year in Lancaster gaol on account of these tests. The most flagrant 
case was that of a little company of Friends on the frontier at 
Catawissa. The district was harassed by Indian raids stirred up by 
the British, but the Quakers were unmolested. This was considered 
clear proof of guilty collusion with the Indians. The two settlers, 
Moses Roberts and Job Hughes, were arrested and taken in irons 
to Lancaster, where for months they lay imprisoned, while their 
wives and families were evicted from the farms and reduced to hard 
straits. Yet, on the other hand, another Quaker frontiersman, 
old Benjamin Gilbert and his family, were carried off as prisoners 
by a tribe of Indians fighting for the British. After enduring excessive 
hardships they were brought to Montreal, and exchanged, but the 
old man succumbed to the treatment he had undergone. 2 The 

1 Quakers in the Revolution, p. 177. 

* To this instance of Indian troubles and those given in earlier chapters, may- 
be added the following : " Just prior to the Revolutionary War the Quaker 
frontier in Georgia began to waver somewhat on account of the Indian troubles, 
and meetings were held irregularly. The climax came when Tamar Kirk Menden- 
hall and her eldest son were killed by the Indians and the youngest son held in 
captivity for about two years. It is probable, however, that in this case also that 
these Friends did not uphold the usual Quaker testimony of fearlessness and 


repeated protests by the Meeting for Sufferings concerning the 
harsh treatment meted out to many Friends at last stirred the 
Assembly's Committee of Grievances to take up the matter. A set 
of test questions on the views of Friends as to the authority of the 
American Government was sent to the Meeting for answer, and 
it was asked to supply the Committee with copies of all published 
Epistles and Testimonies during the past seven years. The Meeting, 
in a written reply, declined to answer the questions on the ground 
that, as their gatherings were not political, such matters could not 
be discussed in them. Friends always, however, maintained a testi- 
mony against war, and on that account could not join actively in 
" measures which tend to create or promote disturbances or 
commotions in the government under which we are placed ; and 
many of our brethren, from a conviction that war is so opposite to 
the nature and spirit of the Gospel, apprehend it their duty to refrain 
in any degree from voluntarily contributing to its support." Such 
a reply was unlikely to conciliate governmental opinion in their 
favour, unless by its very candour. 

Meanwhile the Society went steadily on in the maintenance 
of its testimonies, and disowned those who, in any way, fell below 
its standard, whether for laxity of conduct, for slave-holding, or 
for warlike activities. Among the disowned were some who still 
clung to the Quaker doctrines and Quaker modes of worship, and 
who could not feel at home in any other Church. But they had 
separated themselves too deeply from the Society and with too full 
a conviction of justification to return. 

" They served actively in the armies on the American side, 
they appeared in the Committee of Public Safety, they were seated 
in the legislature, they were concerned in the printing of the 
Continental money." 1 

Samuel Wetherill, for instance, a minister among Friends, in 
1778 not only took the oath of allegiance, but supplied Washington's 
destitute army at Valley Forge with a much-needed consignment 

trust, as they had retreated from their homesteads earlier in the year, and had 
returned to gather the ripened grain. ... It would seem . . . that the safety 
of Friends lay in the consistent attitude of peace, that set them apart in the eyes of 
the savages " (Kelsey, Friends and the Indians, p. 73). 

1 History of the Religious Society of Friends, Called by some the Free Quakers, 
by Charles Wetherill (Philadelphia, 1894, privately printed). This is a spirited 
vindication by the descendant of one of the original " Fighting Quakers " of 
the action of his ancestor and his associates. 


of cloth from his own factory. He was disowned in 1779. In 1780 
he and others of the disowned Friends formed themselves into a 
little Society, meeting for worship at the houses of its members. 
Among these were Timothy Matlock, a member of the Committee 
of Public Safety, one of the few disowned Quakers who used his 
influence in public life openly against his orthodox brethren, 
Colonel Clement Biddle, Gates' quartermaster at Valley Forge, 
Peter Thomson, printer of the Continental money, Lydia Darragh, 
who during the British occupation of Philadelphia warned Washing- 
ton of a projected sortie by the enemy, and Betsy Ross (later Claypole), 
a needlewoman, to whom tradition points as the maker of the first 
Stars and Stripes. The little body, which claimed to be the true 
Society of Friends, but which was generally known as the " Free 
Quakers," drew up a constitution or discipline of more than Quaker 
simplicity. There was to be no creed, no testimonies, no heresies ; 
" no one who believed in God should be excommunicated or 
disowned for any cause whatever," moral or theological. Self- 
defence, and military service in " defensive war," were expressly 
permitted. A few other small meetings in Chester County, Mary- 
land, and Massachusetts, were affiliated to the main body. When 
this handful of about a hundred persons claimed, on the grounds 
of its essential Quakerism, an equal share in the use of the Philadel- 
phia meeting-houses and burial grounds, a difficult situation arose. 
From 1781 to 1783 the Free Quakers made several applications 
to the legislature, asking it to intervene in the matter, and charging 
their old Society with treason. The Assembly was not unsympathetic, 
but the whole procedure of Friends in the disownments had been 
so regular that there was no pretext for intervention. The Meeting 
for Sufferings in February 1782 explained to the Assembly that 
the Society had " power to accept or reject particular members 
according to the suitableness or the unsuitableness of their conduct 
with its doctrines and rules . . . nor are any prohibited from 
assembling with us in our meetings for public worship which, it is 
well known, are held openly and free to all sober people." Any 
member, on the other hand, was equally at liberty to leave them 
and join himself to any other people. Some of the disowned them- 
selves addressed the Assembly, explaining that they acquiesced in the 
justice of their disownments and wished for no interference with 
Friends. Nicholas Wain, formerly an acute lawyer, but by this time 
a pillar of the Society, did it good service before the Commission 


of Inquiry. When some of the malcontents entered the room, he 
turned to one with the question : " What wast thou disowned 
for ? " The ex-Friend, whose difference of opinion had arisen on 
the question of cock-fighting, hesitated and would not reply. The 
process was gone through in the case of one or two others disowned 
on similar grounds, and the Commissioners were able to infer that 
the petitioners had not all left the Society from motives of pure 

Disappointed in this attempt, the Free Quakers raised funds 
to build a meeting-house, to which both Washington and Franklin 
subscribed. It is still standing at the corner of Fifth and Arch Streets, 
Philadelphia, with an inscription stating that it was built " in the 
year of the Empire 8," because, as one of its founders prophesied, 
" our country is destined to be the great empire over all this world." 
But gradually the first impulse died away ; some of the original 
members repented and again joined Friends, other died, others 
moved out of the city, and the meeting dwindled rapidly. After 
the death of Samuel Wetherhill, its Clerk, in 18 16, it had little 
vitality. His grandson, John Price Wetherhill, " after worshipping 
almost alone for several years, closed the Meeting." The building 
was let on lease, and to this day the descendants of its founders meet 
once a year to apportion its revenue to religious and charitable uses. 

The Revolutionary War left a deep mark on American character 
and manners, and the Society of Friends could not go unchanged 
through the ordeal. A recent historian says that Philadelphia Yearly 
Meeting came out of the struggle " more moral internally, more 
devoted to moral reforms, more conservative of ancient tradition,